The New York City Marathon, one of the premier U.S. distance-running events, will not take place as planned on Sunday.
City officials and the organizers of the marathon have been under pressure to cancel the event as the northeast struggles to recover from heavy flooding and power outages caused by superstorm Sandy.
New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement: "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."
Bloomberg continued: "While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division.
"We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done" - Michael Bloomberg
"We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event - even one as meaningful as this - to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."
Critics on Friday ramped up opposition to the mayor's decision earlier in the week to go forward with the marathon, saying the race would divert critical police and other resources from people in need following the storm.
Some people had set up online petitions calling for runners to boycott the 26.2 mile competition, or to run backward from the starting line in protest.
The New York City Marathon is one of the world's most popular sporting events and, according to pre-storm estimates, was expected to draw about 47,000 runners.
Bloomberg said the New York Road Runners Club, the organizers of the race, would have additional information in the days ahead for race participants.