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A Marathon Cut Short

April 11, 2011

You guys have made me feel so awesome with all of your comments and congratulations on the marathon! Thank you!! I am so lucky to have such great support from family and friends. My aunt even sent me flowers today at working with a note that said “hope these make your legs feel better” 🙂


I slept until around 7 this morning before getting ready for work. Surprisingly my legs feel alright! I’m definitely sore in my right knee which causes me to walk just a little funny, but I’m okay as long as I don’t have to climb stairs. And now my back is starting to hurt randomly. I’m making sure to walk around at work so that my legs don’t cramp up, but I think I’m going to wait a few more days until I try some light elliptical or biking.


Stretchy pants = necessary



I still wasn’t very hungry this morning, but finally around 9:30 am I dug into a breakfast cookie. I prepared it the same way as last time and it tasted just as delicious.

My hunger finally caught on and I was ready for lunch three hours later. Not craving anything still, but hungry. I packed a Dr. Praeger’s burger with spinach, hummus, red pepper, and avocado on sprouted grain bread. I also had some asparagus and an apple.

And for dessert, a mini Cashew Cookie Lara Bar from the expo!

A Marathon Cut Short:

As I mentioned, the weather for yesterday’s race was much hotter than any of the runners were prepared for. After training through winter, the 70-80 degree heat added considerable difficulty for many. This morning I found out that around 800 runners were actually diverted from the full marathon course and forced to cut back to a half-marathon.

Before the race started the directors had decided that if the temperature reached 73 degrees they would close the course. At around 9:05 am St. Louis hit that temperature and any runners that hadn’t reached the 9 mile mark were told to turn around with the half marathon runners. While some of these runners were certainly slowed by the heat, plenty of them were right on target with their pace. The runners that trained for and fully intended to run a 5 to 6 hour marathon were not allowed to continue despite being on pace to finish within the 6 1/2 hour time limit.

I understand that the decision was made for safety purposes, but I would have been so upset if I had put in such hard work only to be told I couldn’t even attempt to complete my goal.

What do you think? Should the race directors have allowed the runners to continue and use the alloted time limit to do their best, or was it right to make them turn around less than halfway in?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 2:45 pm

    No way. 83, 93 degrees, I understand, but I feel like 73 isn’t a huge threat to someone’s health. They should have just really encouraged runners to drink at every water station. That’s not fair to someone who’s trained so hard!

    • April 11, 2011 2:52 pm

      I will say that it felt VERY hot. Many people were passing out and taken to the hospital. But I agree than 73 doesn’t sound THAT hot.

    • April 12, 2011 7:18 am

      I totally agree! 85-90 YES, to dangerous but 73! I get that its hot especially when you have been training all winter but I would be DEVASTATED if i wasn’t allowed to finish the full or at least given a shot!

  2. April 11, 2011 2:53 pm

    I think it’s pretty dangerous to run in such high heat especially when the runners aren’t trained for that kind of weather. What a cute picture of you, love the outfit 🙂 And yummy breakfast!

  3. April 11, 2011 2:56 pm

    it’s such a tough question because I can’t imagine having having trained for months and months esp if it’s your first marathon or you’re going for a PR and then having to cut it short. I think at the very least I would want my registration fee back. Of course runners can die when the temp get too high so it’s not without due cause. Man I really feel for those runners!

    so glad you’re feeling well and recovering the right way! 🙂

  4. April 11, 2011 3:00 pm

    That’s really interesting… I feel like people who have trained for a marathon would know their own bodies well enough to know if they could handle it or not.

  5. April 11, 2011 3:38 pm

    That’s strange, because 73 degrees in Florida is BEAUTIFUL out and doesn’t feel hot at all. I say let them finish the race, and stand by in case someone is feeling ill. SO PROUD OF YOU THOUGH!! CONGRATULATIONS!! 🙂

    • April 11, 2011 3:39 pm

      Yes, 73 was beautiful when you weren’t running. But you have to remember that it feels about 20 degrees hotter when you are running. Additionally, it was up to 90 degrees by noon, and these runners would have still been out there! It’s a tough call!

  6. McKenzie permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:00 pm

    Congrats Clare on finishing!! During the holy half it was 83 degrees and it felt even hotter! I saw three people passed out from heat exhaustion with paramedics on my second loop. There were also at least 10 people I heard of who went to the hospital from heat exhaustion. So while it is a huge bummer, I think it was for the best, especially since it got so hot in the afternoon and with the heat people’s paces were definitely thrown off!

  7. April 11, 2011 4:16 pm

    I dreaded going up and down the stairs after my marathon; it was SO painful!!

  8. April 11, 2011 4:28 pm

    oh my gosh i would have been SO upset!! all that hard work then to not be able to finish!! i mean i guess i would just do my own marathon on a separate day to prove i could do it.. but that woul dbe horrible! ihope your appetite comes back!

  9. Paulie D. permalink
    April 11, 2011 5:09 pm

    The race organizers had a tough decision to make. Runners who need five or six hours to complete the course probably are the least fit, otherwise they would finish sooner. With the humidity in St. Louis that seems almost ever present and temperatures soaring into the 90s by noon, I think the race directors opted to reduce the risk of death and heat stroke for the participants. (I once saw a runner collapse and he nearly died during the Marine Corps Marathon. Without emergency responders administering CPR almost immediately, I later learned from a newspaper reporter who interviewed me for an article that various sources told him that the runner almost certainly would have died.) A disappointed runner is better than a hospitalized runner or, God forbid, a dead runner. I am glad you were one of the female rabbits in the race and that you bounded across the finish line as quickly as you made it. Here’s a tip: Take stairs backwards for the next few days, if you need to use them. Try it; you’ll be surprised how much pain it helps to avoid in your quads. Just don’t fall!

  10. April 11, 2011 5:44 pm

    That’s definitely a hard decision for them to make. Although 73 SOUNDS wonderful, when you’re already conquering such a physical feat, it can be a lot for your body to handle. I assume most people trained inside or in the winter and weren’t used to the water too. Sun beating down on you can be extremely tiring and I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry, although it would definitely be disappointing to be one of those runners.

  11. April 11, 2011 6:19 pm

    Hmm definitely a tough question! I understand why they did this for the runner’s safety but if I had trained for this particular race and then had it cut short I would have been so upset! When you first thing of 73 degrees, that sounds like a pleasant temp, but you’re right that’s quite warm to run in, especially 26 miles!

  12. April 11, 2011 6:36 pm

    The 73 degree temp was actually the wet bulb temperature. Here is the story: Wet bulb temperature was less than the actual temperature we experienced – it was into the 80s by noon, with high humidity.

    I think it was absolutely the right thing to cut the race short. I have NEVER seen so many people being taken off a race on a stretcher with IV or sidelined and being given oxygen.

    On a less serious note, the price for the half marathon was $5 less when I registered. I’m glad I didn’t pay the extra $5! I would have been in a world of hurt.

  13. April 13, 2011 8:40 am

    ugh- first- congratulations on your marathon! I’m new to commenting so I have been back tracking to get to your post about it! I would have been SO disappointed if I had to turn around! I have run in 96* weather though and it certainly depends on how you are acclimated, but 73* seems rather cautious! Better safe than sorry I guess!


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