Posted by: Joe English | April 14, 2007

Will the Boston Marathon be cancelled?

Oh my.

If you read my previous post, you know that a big storm is bearing down on Boston just in time for Monday’s marathon. I wrote about how the storm might effect the runners out there on the course, but honestly, it didn’t stirke me just how serious a weather problem they might be having out there. I was thinking wind and rain. But then this morning, someone said “I heard they might cancel the marathon. Is that true?” I couldn’t wait to get back here and check it out.

The answer, according to the Boston Athletic Association, is “no.”

[Update: watch Race Director Dave McGillivary talk about the race in a video on this page. Click here.]

Marathon officials said yesterday that additional precautions are being taken to ensure that there are enough buses, tents and space blankets to keep runners warm, and they added, that there could be a risk of hypothermia. But the race is set to go on as planned.

Deena Kastor and other elite athletes are set to go despite the storm. “My training is in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., at altitudes of 8,000 feet. We’ve trained in snow and wind and icy conditions, rain. So, I’m ready for the conditions,” she said.

According to the Weather Channel, “Sunday will feature the powerful developing storm system along the Eastern Seaboard and that will produce flooding rain and high winds along the coast from the Middle Atlantic States and southern New England Sunday into northern New England Monday. Wind gusts from 40 to as high as 75 mph will occur, especially from eastern Long Island to Cape Cod, Nantucket Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Maine coast.” That doesn’t sound too good.

Flood watches, coastal flood watches, and high wind warnings were in effect over the weekend. But looking at the forecast, it seems like Monday’s weather is the best of the next couple of days.

“More tents, more heat, more transportation for all those runners who decide they are not going to finish. We will have additional transportation to get them back to the finish line. Again, doing everything to allow them to run if they choose to run,” said Guy Morse of the BAA.

For runners, the challenge will be to wear enough clothing to keep the skin from getting wet, without drowning in your own sweat. Make sure to look for jackets that are not sealed on the inside and are made of breathable fabrics, such as Goretex. I find that cycling gear is great for running in the wetest and windiest conditions, because cycle commuters tend to take a real beating from the wind and rain, yet they’re working hard and may be hot under those clothes. A good vented Goretex cycling jacket as a top layer would be good in these rainy, windy, conditions. Runners should make sure to wear gloves, hats, and tights to keep the skin covered all over.

Dressing correctly will be a key to keeping warm, which is the difference between peforming near to normal and getting hypothermia.

So the race goes on as of now. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything else. Feel free to comment if you’ve heard something different or have other good information from the front-lines.

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