You would think that a year which saw Alberto Salazar'a 25-year old
US men's marathon record was broken would be considered a positive one
for marathoning, but Mother Nature showed us who is boss and big time.
It all started at the granddaddy of them all, Boston, where weathermen
were predicting torrential rains, heavy winds and temperatures in the
30's which almost called organizers to cancel the event something never
before done in the 111-years runners have run, jogged and trudged from
Hopkington to Bean Town. Thankfully, the weather on race day mellowed
enough to hold a successful, if not a bit chilly, event.
Lest we all forget that you can't fool Mother Nature, the Chicago Marathon
saw weather at the other end of the spectrum as sweltering heat plagued the
event resulting in the death of one runner and forcing organizers to cancel
the race after three-and-a-half hours. Of the 45,000 runners registered,
10,000 failed to start and an additional 10,000 were prevented from finishing
due to the premature course closure.
Technology shared the stage with the weather in December's Honolulu Marathon
as the event scoring system left 3500 runners wondering just how they did.
Heavy rains played havoc with the electrical generators used to power the
timing systems. Also, the scoring chip used to track each runner failed in
numerous cases some because of damage while attaching the chip to the
athlete's shoes others when runners failed to realize that the chip had to
be removed from the their race bib and attached to their running shoes.
Add to that the tragic death of up-and-coming star Ryan Shay at the US
Olympic Marathon trials in November and you can see why 2007 was a year
that many endurance runners and race organizers would rather forget. The
silver lining in this tumultuous year has to be Ryan Hall's US record
2:08:24 set in London. That's 4:54 per mile for 26.2 miles and means that
the US might just be closing the gap to the Kenyans and Ethiopians.
What's in store for 2008? Hopefully, Ma Nature will give us a bit of a
break. As we all look to Bejing and the 2008 Olympics, it's the man-made
smog blanketing China's capital city that has runners worried. For those
of us who will be going for personal bests on US soil, have no fear; Lance
Armstrong recently announced he will be running the Boston Marathon. That's
good enough for me to be positive about what's ahead!