A good day for a runMother Nature was benevolent Saturday, making runners and race officials grateful.
By: Kevin Pates, Lake County News Chronicle
Mother Nature was benevolent Saturday, making runners and race officials grateful.
Mid-week projections were for storms along the North Shore for the 36th Grandma’s Marathon, 22nd Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and USA Half Marathon Championships.
Rain, and especially lightning, could’ve wreaked havoc with the more than 12,600 participants.
Executive race director Scott Keenan said a plan was in place to deal with the weather, allowing for a decision to be made within a 30-minute time span. If lightning was present for the day’s first events, the USA Half Marathon Championships at 6:15 and 6:25 a.m., officials could’ve waited until 7:15 and combined the races with the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon. That would’ve put the Grandma’s Marathon start in Two Harbors at 8:15 a.m. instead of 7:45. Any further delay likely would have meant canceling the events, said Keenan, because keeping Interstate 35 closed any longer and keeping aid station personnel on the course would have been impractical.
As it turned out, the day dawned with sun, calm winds and about 60-degree temperatures, and, as the races headed toward Canal Park, temps cooled and clouds formed. By 2 p.m. it was 55 degrees.
“We’re blessed,” Keenan said. “It was warm Friday, thunderstorms were said to be headed our way, and then it went south of here. During the race, the wind switched, we got a cooling tailwind and by the end of the day, people were wearing jackets at the finish line. We didn’t panic, and things worked out.”
There’s never been a cancelation in race history, although the Grandma’s Marathon start twice has been delayed by lightning. Pouring rain, said Keenan, would not delay the race start.
It has been a strange spring for races in the Upper Midwest. On May 6, the La Crosse (Wis.) Marathon was canceled because of heavy rain and lightning; the May 20 Green Bay Marathon was shut down by organizers 2½ hours into the race because of 80-degree heat; and the May 27 Madison Marathon was canceled because of predicted highs in the mid-90s. The May 27 Rochester Marathon was held despite 85-degree temperatures.
There were 5,787 Grandma’s Marathon timed finishers compared to 6,333 in 2011, 5,631 in 2010 and 5,853 in 2009.
There were a record 6,482 finishers in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon compared to 5,990 in 2011, 5,854 in 2010 and 5,604 in 2009. There were an additional 169 finishers in the USA Half Marathon Championships.
The Grandma’s Marathon races for 2013 are June 22, with the USA Half Marathon Championships again set for Duluth. Registration for the marathon begins July 1 with an entry fee of $85 through Sept. 30.
Tim’s Team stays united
Five members of Tim’s Team from Grand Marais showed solidarity in getting to the finish line of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.
Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell and son Kieran joined Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken, along with her parents, Mary and Jeff Hicken of Minneapolis. The team was formed as a community-unifying positive experience following a Dec. 15 incident in which a man was disarmed in the Cook County Attorney’s office in Grand Marais after shooting Scannell three times.
About 25 friends of Tim Scannell and Molly Hicken wore blue team T-shirts while participating in the race.
All race day results www.mtecresults. com/race/show/734