I should have known it was a bad omen when I saw the freshly dead deer on Interstate 43 twenty miles outside Green Bay. A second warning sign in retrospect could have been when the race director told us that the course was mismeasured last year, 0.15 miles over.
Anyway, so as to not bury the lede, despite some six months of planning & training, I didn’t finish the Green Bay Marathon today. At mile 18 we were told to stop – at 19.8 I finally did.
As far as the part of the race I was able to run – the first half went pretty well. It wasn’t hot at the start, I ran with the 3:35 pace group for the first 10 miles (I was 1:22:23 through 10, an 8:14 split). It was about at the split from the half marathoners at 12 that I started noticing the heat. Much of the first 12 was on shaded residential streets – the miles after the split were more exposed & the sun was brutal. I haven’t trained much in the heat – we simply haven’t had any weather like this.
By 13.1, I was running an 8:18 split and had lost my 3:35 pace group. By 15 I was passed by the 3:40 group and my splits had soared over 9:00. I don’t remember much between 15 & 18. The course here was beautiful along the Fox River Trail – more shade but not enough. Really what we needed was cloud cover.
So, canceled, black-flagged, whatever, the call was made by the medical director. Probably for the best. But I’m still somewhat irritated with the ass-covering posturing by the race director in the news today. You didn’t run out of water? Fantastic, glad to see you getting those liability talking points squared away. You want a pat on the back for not running out of water?? Tone-deafness to the disappointment of so many who could have finished but were blocked from doing so, and complaining in the press about those who chose to continue? That’s tacky.
I can’t help but contrast this to what I saw last month when volunteering at the Boston Marathon. That day was hotter, that race started later, and runners adapted as needed, run/ walking as needed. Not that this should be our metric but no one died in Boston, and no one pulled the plug two and a half hours in.
I guess I’m just irritated with the whole situation whether or not it was the right call. Worse, I was highly annoyed to finally get to the finish and find that I couldn’t work my way into the runner’s chute to get bananas, etc. And on finding the food tent – water for $1?? With all due respect, fuck whoever made that decision. It should not be easier to get cold beer than to get cold water, yet there we were. And insult to injury, the band was also canceled, so after listening to 30 minutes of droned race results, there was no entertainment. Upon trying to leave I waited another hour for a hotel shuttle.
Despite my disappointment, I’d like to end this on somewhat of a positive note. Every volunteer on the course was noticeably helpful & supportive. And the rest of the people I’ve met in Wisconsin so far could not have been nicer. The race shirt is quite nice, and I was thankfully able to get a medal (that obviously I don’t deserve). And lastly, since I didn’t finish & can’t check Wisconsin off my list, I’ll happily come back for another race. Just, next time, it’ll be Madison.
Song of the week from an early mile (~3), Foster the People, Pumped up Kicks.