Where did we go so wrong? Oh, I remember. It was the Summerfest Rock-n-Sole Half Marathon last year. After race directors completely failed, I fear this race has set a precedent from which we will not soon recover. It was hot, the water ran out and runners dropped like flies. Here we are almost a year later and most directors seem to have become terrified at the prospect of an endurance race that reaches a sweltering 65 degrees or more.
May 20, 2012 Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cellcom Marathon was halted due to 82 degree heat and approximately twenty runners were taken to the hospital. This is what the marathon director Sean Ryan, has to say about you, “My take-away … endurance athletes are not capable of making rational decisions about whether an event should proceed or halt, or in some cases, make a rational decision whether they should proceed or stop.”
How do you like being told by some presumptuous race director that you are responsible enough to drive a car, hold a job and raise your kids but you are “not capable” of deciding if you should start a race and just too irrational to decide when to stop? The concept of personal responsibility is obviously something Mr. Ryan fails to comprehend.
May 25, 2012 Madison, Wisconsin. Race organizers decided to cancel the full marathon due to heat concerns, opting to put registered runners in the half marathon. While this race had been cancelled in progress in 2006 and 2010, I can’t help but think the directors were spooked by the disaster at Green Bay the week before.
Sure, races have been cancelled years before the Rock-n-Sole debacle, but this is only May and two major marathons in Wisconsin have already been scrubbed. Do the race organizers fear legal repercussions? Unlikely, we all sign a waiver for a reason and it is up to us to decide if we should take one more step toward the finish line. Races all over the country pride themselves on the “extreme conditions” Mother Nature dishes out for their events, but apparently 82 degrees is far too hot to keep water stations supplied after stopping the race in Green Bay. This is a sport! It’s going to be hot, cold, rainy and windy. It’s up to the runner, who paid good money, to decide if it is wise to embark upon the 26.2 mile journey. The very least a race director can do is have enough water and medical staff to accommodate their participants. Can’t do that? Then don’t put on a race in your town. Are you listening Mr. Ryan? Don’t blame the runners for your blunder.
I fear that as the 2012 running season gears up, race cancellations are going to become common. So distance runners, get ready to give away your money in exchange for disappointment. It’s the hot thing to do.
© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running