I attempted my first marathon this on Memorial Day weekend at the Med City Marathon. This is a very small race as marathons go with typically 300 finishers. It was 80 degrees at the start and rose to about 95 by early afternoon. When I saw the heat coming I started to lower my goals, eventually just wanting to finish. I was trained for the distance but not the heat.
The ambulances started showing up at about mile 8 or so and people were stopping by the side of the path.By mile 17 I learned they had cancelled the marathon. There was a half marathon and several relays being run at the same time and no word that they were cancelled. They advised the marathoners to stop at the water tables and wait for a shuttle bus, but I could see people continuing on so I did that. A couple miles later at the next water table I learned that they had chopped a 3 mile loop out of the race so it wasn't possible to finish the distance even if you wanted to, but I skipped the buses and slogged it back to the finish line which was at about 23 miles for me. I had to walk most of those last several miles even though I had gone as far as 25 in training and had several more runs over 20.
They said that the race was cancelled for our own protection. It was known before the race that it would be a 90 degree day. I thought they should have kept the course open for us. I never felt in danger since I wound up having to walk so much and felt deprived of my goal. It wouldn't have been much of a goal. I was originally shooting for about 4:20 which was in the neighborhood of my longest training runs. On race day I would have been working to get under the 6 hour cutoff.
Has anyone heard of a race being cancelled like this? With all the preparation that goes into this I think I should have been allowed to continue. At mile 17 they said that we would proceed at our own risk. I thought we always did that and had signed a waiver to that fact before the race. This was an extreme anticlimax. At first I was too exhausted too disappointed, just being glad it was over. But by the next day I felt very disappointed that the race had been shut down and that my choice was taken away from me.
How would you feel in this situation?
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