THE blue and orange finish line is in place in Central Park, no superstorm debris in sight. Little else is normal with the New York City Marathon.
The course will be the same since there was little damage but getting to the finish line could still be an adventure for runners from outlying areas.
Such is life in Sandy's aftermath -- disrupted trains, planes, buses and ferries, flooded buildings, blocked roads and knocked out power.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg saw none of this as insurmountable and defended the decision to hold the race, insisting resources wouldn't be diverted from storm victims.
He noted that electricity was expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up "up an enormous number of police".
"This city is a city where we have to go on," he said.
City Council member Domenic Recchia Jr, however, called plans to hold the race "just wrong" in light of the ongoing misery among residents with no food, shelter or electricity.
The marathon brings an estimated $340 million into the city, and race organisers say some of it will be used for recovery efforts.
New York Road Runners, which operates the event, will donate $1 million to the fund and said more than $1.5 million in pledges already had been secured from sponsors.
It was still unclear whether runners would get to the start by bus or ferry. NYRR President Mary Wittenberg said organisers commissioned buses to transport runners to Staten Island, but the city wanted to use the ferry, as in the past. Bloomberg expected full ferry service to resume by tomorrow.
Runners from Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey, with trouble reaching Manhattan, will be bused directly from those areas to the start. Many of the nearly 30,000 out-of-town entrants were still scrambling to get to New York, aided somewhat by the reopening of the area's three major airports. Wittenberg predicted more than 8,000 of the 47,500 entrants originally expected won't make it.
Kenyan runners, including men's favourites Wilson Kipsang and Moses Mosop, flew from Nairobi to London to Boston, then drove to New York, arriving late Wednesday.
Favourites in the women's race include Olympic gold medalist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia, bronze medalist Tatyana Arkhipova of Russia and world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya.