Roundup and Roundtable: Jan. 22, 2018

Welcome to the Monday Morning Roundup and Roundtable! This week we’ve got a few news items plus a discussion about winter racing. Join the discussion in the comments below, and join us for Salty Chat on Twitter tonight at 8 EST!

Noteworthy:

  • Congrats to Tina Muir, a British elite runner who has been living in Kentucky, and her husband, on their new addition! Bailey Grace arrived on Friday. You might remember Tina’s public discussion of her amenorrhea and her lifestyle changes before and during pregnancy.
  • Nick Symmonds announced he’ll be running the Eugene Marathon in April as a second attempt at breaking 3 hours. In December, he ran 3:00:35 off of some 25 miles a week, annoying the hell out of all of us.
  • In what appears to be a renewed commitment of Oiselle’s to sponsoring rising elites, the company announced twins Regina Lopez and Sabrina Lopez as the latest additions to the Haute Volée. Both qualified for the 2020 marathon trials at CIM, and join Allie Kieffer as new signings to Oiselle.
  • Lindsey Hein scooped up new half-marathon American record-holder Molly Huddle for her I’ll Have Another podcast this week. Other recent guests on Lindsey’s show include Kathrine Switzer, Des Linden and Kris Lawrence, so it’s a good time to load up your listening queue!

When will January end?

Here’s Anise freezing her butt off on New Year’s Day.

‘Tis the season for crazy weather that can completely ruin your races plans. The snow is melting for a lot of us this week, but it can’t be trusted. This weekend, it was 40º in Louisville and they still had to cut a 5k to 2.3 miles because of snow and ice.

Race directors face difficult decisions when the weather is potentially hazardous to runners and volunteers, or would even hinder public safety crews from doing their jobs. Plus, you’ve got liability issues.

Another recent example is the bitter cold on New Year’s Day. In Indianapolis, Anise’s New Year’s Day race day forecast was a HIGH of 5º (with lower windchill). Even with an 11 a.m. start time, it wouldn’t even be that “warm.”

The race director sent out an email that people running a 10:00 pace or slower were invited to run a 1.5 mile version of the route and still receive medals and swag. Anise is a bit slower than that pace but is an experienced runner and used to the cold. She reached out to the race director and asked if she would be required to turn early. The answer was no, but the race director wanted to offer an option to for people to cut it short for safety.

What do you prefer when the weather isn’t good for a race? Cancellation, short course for everyone, short course option, time limits, or something different?

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4 comments

  1. It’s always so fun this time of year when running becomes a bit more relevant race wise again post-holidays and the news starts picking back up of people declaring the races they are running, sponsors, etc etc. Good motivation and inspiration to see!

    Races definitely get put in a bad spot when the weather is bad. No matter what someone will be mad or disappointed. A local race was held a few weeks ago when most people felt it should have been cancelled. The wind chill was almost 30 below, and the road conditions weren’t great and it was KNOWN all week it was going to be that way. instead of cancelling, offering a deferral, they offered runners the option to cut down the distance (The course is a half marathon but consists of 4 loops). Each person (HAD to choose prior to the race) to run anywhere from 1-4 loops with prizes still only going to those who ran all 4. The conditions were ridiculous, people went to hospital from hypothermia, and the fact that everyone ran different distances left some runners feeling like they were less because they chose to run less. All around I thought it was handled pretty poorly (from outsider perspective who knows people who ran, I did not in fact choose to run). I honestly think deferral to another race, rescheduling, cancelling or cutting it down so EVERYONE ran the same (yet shorter) distance would have been better. But again, they were in a tough spot, had they cancelled there would have been people upset about that too.

  2. Another important consideration for race directors is the safety of volunteers! it’s one thing for runners to judge for themselves whether they should pack it in if it’s too cold, but those kind folks standing out by the far turn around cone on an out and back course are likely out there as long or longer than any of the runners and they’re standing still. Our local new years eve run offers as 5 and 10k option, and with windchills in the minus 30 or lower range (that’s that crazy zone where C and F converge!), they canned the 10K and offered a 5 and 3 km so they didn’t need the far turn around and the volunteers could get back to warm safety more quickly.

  3. In the December/January/February range, I usually don’t sign up for races in advance … just in case. Then if it gets cancelled, I’m not mad. I’m also more likely to shrug it off and stay home if I think the conditions are bad. For me, the risk of injury and ruining the rest of my season isn’t worth it — even it was an A race. I’ve got nothing to prove by posting on social media that I did a race in crazy ass weather. One Thanksgiving we got freezing rain the night before, and my friend and I jogged the dicier part of the course for our warm-up to check it out. The race directors ended up doing a delay and went to get salt for the bridges in question. It was still slick but at least I knew it was coming.

    So excited for Tina! I’m curious to see what Nick does at Eugene. I had fun interviewing him before Hawaii for Salty Running, and was happy my time at Chicago beat his Honolulu time. 😉 25 mpw, that jerk.

  4. Jesse has a good point about the safety of volunteers in the winter weather. I am an avid race volunteer and we are often out there as long, if not longer, than the runners. We are not moving (much), and have to be at water stops early to set up, then stay from the first runner until the last runner, then tear down the stop, clean up, etc.

    Also, I think it’s a neat idea for the race to offer people the chance to cut the route short at 1.5 and still get a medal, but I think that option should have been open to everyone… I’m glad you reached out and got to run the whole thing if that’s what you wanted to do!