SUMMER SNIPPET #4: “PEACHTREE DOWNPOUR”
A rainy snippet today.
On July 4th this year I ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta along with 55,000+ other runners.
Peachtree is a near annual tradition for me (it was my first race ever back in 1994) and 2015 was the 11th (or 12th) time I ran it.
I’ve written about Peachtree quite a bit in past posts. You can read about it here.
But this year I encountered something new at the Peachtree (and for any race).
Now I’ve run plenty of times in the rain before. I even had a downpour fry one of my iPods. You can read about that here.
But it’s always just been water falling from the sky. I haven’t been in a race before where Zeus decided to lob down some fireworks from Mt. Olympus.
Let me Reader’s Digest it for you.
Rain was in the forecast for the race… a 50% chance. Flip your coin. Heads for dry. Tails for not so dry.
It came up tails.
Actually things weren’t bad at the beginning. On the car ride down to the race and the walk up to the start line, it was only sprinkling intermittently. Not bad at all. But I brought a disposable poncho and donned it just in case for the pre-race wait.
On the upside, the rain and overcast skies kept things from getting too hot in Hotlanta. That’s a good thing.
And just before the start of the race it stopped raining entirely.
I figured the running gods were being kind and I discarded my poncho as the horn went off for my wave.
About 1 mile in the gods changed their minds apparently. The rain started to fall once again.
By this point I was already wet with sweat (big surprise) and I was wearing a hat, so the rain didn’t bug me too much.
That changed around halfway point when I reached the top of Cardiac Hill.
I heard a loud crack of thunder and saw a lightning bolt off in the distance.
To quote Starlord from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, “There’s a little bit of pee coming out right now.”
To be honest, I wasn’t certain what to do. Now I’ve already shown that I don’t have the good sense to come in out of the rain, but I’m not crazy enough to F-around with Mother Nature when she’s really pissed.
I kept moving forward and figured if I saw another few strikes (or one nearby) I’d make a beeline for shelter.
And then I thought about the 25,000 or so runners who were still waiting to start the race (and the other 30,000 already on the course). Where the hell would we all go if things got seriously “zappy” outside?
I fortunately didn’t find out the hard way, because I never saw another lightning strike. I continued my race and finished in a respectable time of 1:00:51. Actually the time is an “approximate” (based on my Garmin) because my timing chip didn’t record my time at all. The race officials stated that the rain played havoc with quite a few timing chips.
What I didn’t discover until I crossed the finish line was that a lightning strike was recorded just a half mile from the start line and they had temporarily “black flagged” the race. They shuffled thousands of runners into the nearby malls and parking structures until the conditions improved about 30-40 minutes later.
Kudos to Peacthree officials and runners for handling the situation in stride. I told you it’s a great race.
I’m already looking forward to running Peachtree again in 2016.
I’m just hoping it doesn’t rain frogs.
Gribbit… and Run on!