NEW YORK (AP) New York City Marathon organizers say they had no runners signed up for Sunday's race from the three West African countries stricken by Ebola.
Only a ''handful'' of entrants, mostly from overseas, have reached out with concerns after a doctor who had treated infected patients in Africa became the first person in the city to be diagnosed with Ebola, New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said Monday.
Organizers had long operated under the assumption that New York would have an Ebola case by the time the marathon came around, Wittenberg added, and they have stayed in close contact with city, state and federal health authorities to ensure proper protocols are followed.
Charities such as UNICEF that already had runners entered in the race to raise money will donate the funds to treat Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Most of the runners favored to win Sunday's race are from Kenya and Ethiopia in East Africa, on the opposite side of the continent from the outbreak.
Last year, Idrissa Kargbo, a gifted distance runner from Sierra Leone, ran the NYC Marathon after NYRR heard his story and offered him a spot in the field and supporters crowd-sourced the funding for his trip. He has been involved in relief efforts in his country, and Wittenberg said NYRR officials have stayed in touch with offers to help.
Dr. Craig Spencer, the New York physician infected with Ebola, is an avid runner who completed the NYC Marathon last year.