When I received the news Friday night that the marathon was canceled, my first thought was, "What a stupid decision." First, it was 10 p.m. and the forecast was calling for the snow to stop in the early morning hours with sunny skies and warmer temperatures on Saturday. Second, runners had been training for months and most likely ran in all types of weather conditions, and canceling the event would be a huge disappointment for the participants who had spent the past five months preparing for the race.
After speaking with several people involved in the decision, it is apparent they made what they thought was the best choice with the information they had at that time. Organizers say getting the volunteers out, the roads secured and the medical personnel in place was just too much to manage if the race were delayed to later in the day or pushed back to Sunday.
Would I have made the same decision if I were in charge of the event or managing the city? Probably not. However, as we all know, hindsight is 20-20, so it is easy for me to be an arm-chair quarterback on what should have happened now that I know the condition of the roads and how nice the weather turned out on Saturday afternoon.
Consider This: We can only hope the race has not suffered significant damage and will rebound in 2011. Runners are a forgiving group and most will understand that this once-in-a-decade snowstorm was an aberration and they'll likely return.
One suggestion for organizers is to consider pushing the race back to late February or early March. It still gives runners plenty of time to qualify for Boston, it does not interfere with the Virginia Beach run and will most likely offer better weather conditions.
And although most runners are probably not looking for a full refund of their entry fee, it would be a nice gesture if organizers would offer some type of credit. And one other suggestion: They might want to consider purchasing cancellation insurance for future events in case that 10-year snowstorm hits a little sooner next time.