Today’s weather, with a couple more ridiculous days to come, and the need to cancel tonight’s Training Run in Sayville and the wise decision to postpone Saturday’s Greenway Run at the Bench until January 20th, reminds me of past winter storms and the effect they have had on the Long Island running community.
My most vivid memory of this kind of snow event isn’t even a winter one. It was a Thanksgiving Day, somewhere in the early 1980s, when I was all set to head for Port Washington and David’s Katz’s 5 Mile Run at Manorhaven Park. A massive snowstorm started early Wednesday evening and lasted till past dawn on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of the race. I was even more obsessed 35 years ago than I am now, so a couple of buddies and I met at Plainview High School and did a five mile run up Washington Avenue and back. The roads hadn’t been plowed yet, but we made our own route though the snow and accomplished what we had set out to do. Hey, we were scheduled to do five miles that day, so we did it.
My next best memory of a snow event is of the Kings Park 15K somewhere about 15 years ago. We were actually up at the William T. Rogers Middle School (the race started and finished there until about 8 or 10 yeas ago), but the snow was coming down so heavily that it was just impossible to proceed. Forget the “just about” - it would have been impossible. So we called it off and rescheduled it for June. The ironic part of the story I that two or three hours later the sun was out, the roads were clear an we could have held the race
Most recently in December of 2016, we had snow and ice on the streets of Bethpage for the Ho Ho Ho Run. Most of the preregistered runners didn’t show, but we had three or four hundred dedicated (out of their minds???) souls who were ready to go ....and so were Race Director Ric DiVeglio and the GLIRC team. The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 AM. At 9:00 AM, the head of the NCPD detail advised us that the icy roads were simply too treacherous for the race to proceed. It was at about the same time that the guys who were going to be the lead bikes came in from the course and told us the same thing. Well, we had way more than enough refreshments for everyone to enjoy, picked the raffle winners - including the Canon camera and the HDTV - and called it a day. We would have loved to reschedule for the following Saturday, but it was Christmas weekend and there was no way. Obviously we made every effort to get the race sweatshirts to everyone who didn’t show up that morning... but it wasn’t the same, and I still feel badly about it today.
I’ve got a lot of other similar weather related war stories, and to this day the idea of cancelling a race gives me great pain. However, you need to use your common sense, even if your instincts as a runner tell you to forge ahead!