A Letter received today about yesterday's marathon...
"Lewis & Clark 2008: You Tried; We Tried
As far as our event was concerned, the remnants of Hurricane Ike could not have arrived in St. Louis at a worse possible time. While we are all very disappointed that this year's race did not turn out as we hoped, we are very proud of how our volunteers and athletes responded to a true worst-case weather scenario.
Postponing a race of the size of Lewis & Clark - even for a few hours - was never an option. Our event requires time-specific permits and permissions from a dozen separate municipalities and government agencies - as well as the scheduling of 500 volunteers (who come to us both as individuals and in groups) and various service providers (traffic control, trash hauling, etc.). Postponing until a later date is also not possible. The booking of Frontier Park, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater , medical support, bus service, etc. must be done months (and in some cases a year) in advance. Our only two choices for the event were to (1) cancel it entirely or (2) work hard to provide a safe event in spite of the extreme weather...
...Despite the fact that circumstances were such that cancelling the event was a defensible position, we decided to do our best to serve our athletesby holding the event. While few PRs would be set - everyone was at least sure to leave with an "I ran with Ike" story. When the event started, we had every intention of allowing everyone to complete the entire distance. Both courses were runnable and we believed given the latest weather reports that they would continue to be so. Unfortunately, the combination of (1) the storm dropping over 5" of rain and (2) much of that rain falling immediately before the start of the race (in part due to the delay that resulted because the police were understandably late getting to their positions because they were busy working a multitude of traffic accidents) caused a flash flood that swamped a long stretch of the north section of our course just minutes before the first runners were to arrive. When we received the reports of the flash flooding approximately 30 minutes into the race, we immediately responded by safely altering the course to avoid the flooded area. We wish we could have re-routed to another 13.1 mile course, but for many reasons that was not a viable option. ...the storm knocked out our radio communications... To make matters worse, our finish line sound system was also put out of commission by the storm, so information could not be effectively delivered post-race...As for the marathon course, we received word soon after the flooding report that the wind and rain had caused two large branches to fall onto and across our course - obviously a dangerous situation. In addition, the medical station on the south end of the marathon course could not operate effectively in the dangerous conditions. As a result, we felt we had to stop all of our competitors at 10 miles.
Congratulations to those of you who competed head-to-head with Ike!
David Spetnagel, Debby Spetnagel, Jeff Neuschwander, Kristen Murphy
Well, there you have it. Although My Man made a valiant attempt to get us to the starting line and helped keep our spirits up with his ever-present sense of humor, it was not in the cards. And I think I'm kinda glad...
(see yesterday's post)