Monday, September 15, 2008

Lewis & Clark Marathon That Wasn't

Fifteen minutes before marathon race time, I stepped out of the car into dark. 35 mile an hour wind... horizontal rain... pelted through my shirt. Less than a minute later, in a porta potty line, I was drenched to the skin... to the tips of my toes, and I said, "I can't do this."

When Hurricane Andrew hit landfall less than a hundred miles west of New Orleans, we stood on the sidewalk in front of our hotel and leaned into the strong misty wind.
That was nothing like the band of Hurricane IKE that struck St. Charles, Missouri last Sunday morning. This was too much like really being in the hurricane.

We sat in the car near the start line for over an hour before race time, watching the horizontal wind-driven rain beating on cars around us.. in the dark... by the light of the parking lot lights. Volunteers and runners scurried past, their jackets, ponchos, garbage bags whipping in the wind. Even then, I couldn't imagine how insane it would feel to be trying to run in it.

Today the race directors sent out this: (Read about the flooding of the course, the other difficulties in allowing the marathon to go on...)

http://www.fleetfeetstl.com/lewisandclarkmarathon/index.html

Remember Chicago... last October... we ran .. and then they canceled the race??!!
Well, here we go again: lots of stories, bragging rights.. but no official marathon time.

Well, yes, I have been out in wind and rain before... I detasseled corn in Iowa in hard rain, when I was a teenager.
We Three all ran around Bald Eagle Lake (White Bear Lake, MN) .. a 10K in 40 degree rain.... But...
How can I tell you? ... This was a hurricane!

The IKE storm band dumped on our marathon before moving on to Ohio...Note the dark red over St. Louis/ St. Charles area on the radar.

But who knows... maybe we will go to the Lewis & Clark Marathon again next year.. and get Missouri... for our 50 states goal.

17 comments:

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh my!!! Wow, you sure know how to pick them. But it sounds like the race organizers, volunteers and runners who showed up made a valiant effort. The ZYY indoor marathon is looking better and better :-)

peter said...

What an adventure! It seems like the race organizers tried! The perfect storm of events (flash flooding, trees down, no radio communications, accidents, no police) foiled them for sure, and then they seemingly gave out prompt full information about the decision. That wasn't like Chicago at all! That attempt sounds like it was both judicious and fun! Show me!

Vickie said...

Wow! What an experience. You seem to find your share of "marathons that aren't" marathons. Reading the story, its amazing anyone got as far as they did. We got remnants of Ike also but didn't get the wind, just the rain. The GR Marathon course is flooded. (P.S.--I'm thinking of doing Indianapolis.)

jen said...

:) We did run in it (though I haven't blogged about it yet, 'cause I'm having a hard time finding the words to sum it up). This was supposed to be my first half! When we got word (by yelling bicyclist) that they were calling it at 10, I found it terribly ironic that I had run longer training runs...yet the energy I put out to do those ten miles was certainly more than I would have spent on a full 13.1 on a nice day! The running was hard against that wind and painful rain, but I'm glad we did it!

CewTwo said...

You never know about the weather! I think it is so great and a wonderful testament as to your character and inner fortitude that you were there! (I doubt I would have been.)

The on thing I keep wondering about the Chicago Marathon is - What if it is raining that day? At this point, I think I would still run it. I have trained so hard!

Anyway! Good for you! You do get the bragging rights for showing up!

Anne said...

I guess you can't control the weather, though Chicago's situation was due to lack of proper planning. Still, I'm sorry you won't be able to (officially) cross The Show Me State off your list just yet. At least it provides a great story.

Sunshine said...

When runners started the race (an unexplained 15 minutes late), they had no idea they would be allowed to run only (approximately!!) 10 MILES.

Yes, the storm was an incredibly "right on hit"... but there were flood warnings on Friday.
Perhaps on Saturday they could have re-routed the low-lying loop of the first half to an out-and-back.
Then half marathon runners and full marathon runners would have had an official 13.1 mile race.

Susan said...

Yeesh - of all the luck. I'm just glad you were (and are) safe and sound. Holy moly!

Backofpack said...

Wow. All I can say is that I know many race directors (although for much smaller races in terms of people) and that this is an RD's worst nightmare. It's awfully hard to figure out what to do when Mother Nature decides to play, and hard to manage the communications, keep safety in mind and keep runners happy. Glad it wasn't me!

Elizabeth said...

Good for you NOT to start. Sounds just a little too wild! Glad to read about your other runs, and hope you're staying well.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Good thinking for not starting. The trail is was going to run on went under water.

rocketpants said...

Sounds like you made the right decision. There will be other races for sure.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Seems like they gave it a good effort to let the race go on until it was clearly too dangerous.

Not much anyone can do about the weather...

robtherunner said...

What a bummer for RD's and runners alike. Sorry to hear it turned out this way.

Just12Finish said...

Sorry to hear that - with all that Ike did along it's path, better to be safe than sorry.

DawnB said...

sorry to hear what happened. I'm glad the race hadn't started alreay, definately better to be safe than sorry. next year it will be better than ever.

CewTwo said...

Oh oh! Weather must have gotten to you! No blog in a week!