Longtime Runners Say ‘Right Call’ on TC Marathon Cancellation
For the first time ever, organizers canceled the Twin Cities Marathon and the 10-mile race just hours before it started Sunday morning.
The decision garnered mixed reactions from runners. Two Plymouth brothers said it was the right course of action.
Craig and Michael Swanson of Plymouth are avid runners. They’ve collectively run nearly 650 marathons.
The Swansons ran their first together in 1997. A room in Michael’s basement is decked out with medals and memorabilia from his 309 marathons over the years.
“This is our first marathon,” Michael said, showing a photo of him and two others crossing the finish line in St. Paul. “Brother Craig, friend Kurt and myself, finishing in Twin Cities.”
Michael and Craig are familiar with the challenge and beauty of long distance running. Of the hundreds of courses they’ve braved, they say Twin Cities is their favorite.
“We’ve run most of the big ones, if not all, and every step of the course is gorgeous. That’s why I love it,” Craig said.
The pair recounted their past marathon experiences, saying 1997 and 2007 were both hot years for the Twin Cities marathon. The Chicago marathon, which was held that same day in 2007, was canceled for heat mid-race.
They both say the heat then was nothing like this weekend.
“That was going to be my 310th,” Michael said, “and Craig, it would’ve been your 339th.”
Heat wave brings cancellation
High temperatures were forecast for Sunday throughout the week. Craig said TCM sent out emails warning people about conditions in the week leading up to the race, but no decision to cancel was announced until that Sunday morning.
“So I get up, am walking down the stairs and I’m checking my phone,” said Michael Swanson, who was preparing for his wife to drive him to the start like. “I say: ‘Lynn, go back to bed!’ She says, ‘Why?’ I go ‘They just canceled!'”
TCM posted an alert online and in its email, announcing the morning’s events were canceled due to extreme and dangerous weather conditions. Following the event alert system, the alert signaled “EAS Black Flag weather conditions,” record-setting heat conditions made the event unsafe for runners, supporters and volunteers.
Craig and Michael said this decision was the right call. Craig said the WetBulb Globe Temperature, which measures heat stress in direct sunlight, plays a big role.
“The numbers of people that start and don’t finish in these races are huge when that happens. It has an impact on the community, on the volunteers, on other runners. It’s bigger than Mike and I being able to finish,” Michael said.
Michael already has a number races lined up, including a few in Wisconsin over the next few weeks.
“I always have two or three going on, you know, up through next year,” Michael said.
Some runners that day ran the course anyway on Sunday, while others signed up for races over the next few weeks.
TCM shared on its website that it plans to release more information on possible credits for racers by the end of the day on Thursday, Oct. 5.