St. Cloud Earth Day Half Marathon Race Recap
Who would have thought back in December when signing up for the St. Cloud Earth Day ½ Marathon on April 20th, there’d be a 12” snowfall to contend with? It’s certainly a rare occurrence to receive an email prior to the race with the header:
ALL RUNNERS, THE RACE IS STILL ON!
The race officials did a wonderful job acknowledging runner’s concerns with the weather prior to the race as well as explaining moving the finish line 727 feet. The race course typically ends at Husky Stadium where runners cross the finish line on the football field while watching themselves projected on a huge Jumbotron. The field is covered with a dome during the winter months and due to the snowfall, wasn’t able to be removed prior to the race events.
The solution – shorten the course by 727 feet and end the race in the nearby parking lot. Certainly not as dramatic of a finish line – but whether it’s a snowfall in April or 100° days in July, we need to remember that adjusting to change comes with the territory.
The race began after a moment of silence was observed in honor of the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon. Running in conditions like Saturday’s certainly could have put a damper on the mood – but it seemed the opposite was taking place. There was a sense of energy, camaraderie and gratitude among the runners at the start line.
Knowing the course fairly well, I can say that it’s the greatest mix of terrain you’ll find. Between the city streets, neighborhood blocks, grassy stroll through Riverside Park, a tour of St. Cloud State University sidewalks, and paved trails along the Mississippi River – the course has something for everyone! Thankfully, by the time the race started, much of that terrain was well thawed and free of ice and snow. Except for the grassy/snowy/muddy stroll through Riverside Park, the race organizers couldn’t have handled the recent snowstorm better.
While I’ve run the entire ½ marathon course several times, this year (due to injury) I wasn’t quite prepared for the 13.1 miles and decided to run the relay with my husband instead. Wanting to not only cross the finish line, but have the opportunity to run in the neighborhood where my grandparents once lived – I chose the second half of the course.
Year after year I look forward to mile 10 of the run. Just after a jaunt through a few neighborhood streets near the St. Cloud Country Club and just before a nice little hill – is the house with the oranges. Every year neighbors gather in the driveway of the house, blast music through speakers and don their rubber gloves while handing out orange slices to runners passing by. This year, the snow and cold must have been too much and there were no neighbors, no loud music playing, no oranges – and that hill felt just a bit harder.
You never know what lemons (or lack of oranges) you may be handed on a training run or on race day. But as runners in Minnesota, we’re a tough bunch who won’t be swayed by a little snow and a 20° race start.