Marathon runners and bike riders weather the storm

More than 1,000 people from around the world participated in events downtown Saturday.

— We often hear the cliche "Chamber of Commerce weather" used to describe days represented by beautiful pictures that grace the covers of magazines and brochures beckoning tourists and businesses alike.

Saturday, however, was not one of those days.

Severe weather that moved into the area overnight forced postponement of Albany's Mardi Gras celebration to next weekend, but the Albany Marathon and Half Marathon powered by Snickers and the SB&T Bike Race slogged bravely on.

"When they fired the starting gun (at 7 a.m) they must have poked a hole in the sky, because it started pouring" said soaked marathon participant Jeff Williams of Marietta. "The rain let up after awhile, then started back again around mile three. Then the tornado sirens went off around mile seven.

"It was a heck of a day."

The races participants and their supporters, however, seemed to take it all in stride.

"I'd heard that this is a great smaller town to run in, that the course was nice and flat and that the people here are some of the friendliest you'll ever meet. But nobody said anything about the weather," said half marathon runner Karen Austin ofSt. Louis, Mo. "As it turned out, it was a great course, the people were wonderful and everything was great ... except the weather."

Bikers Drew Miller and Kurt Hoehm of Jacksonville, Fla. weren't particularly concerned about the weather.

"We'll just let a few pounds of air out of the tires, so I'm not worried that much about the weather unless it's lightening or tornadoes," Miller said, adding with a laugh, "but a tornado might be a good tailwind ..."

Hoehm, who has raced in Idaho, Louisiana and California and is racing in the fourth of the past five weekends, said he just wanted to race.

"I enjoy this a lot," he said. "It's fun and a good workout. Some of these other guys actually make money at it. Drew and I just donate to the purse."

For some of the day's participants, weather was never a factor.

"I'm going on vacation later this week, and I wanted to run a marathon before I started vacation. I looked at other places like Napa Valley, but it's more fun to me to run in smaller towns," said Matt Flaherty, of Chicago who finished sixth in the Marathon. "This is just a beautiful course, especially the last few miles.

"I've had a ball here."

Others, like Half Marathon runner Michael Medlen, of Wicksburg, Ala., had competed here before, and will be back next year.

"I'd run here before, and it's such a good course I wanted to come back," Medlen said."I didn't do as well this time, but I'm about 15 pounds heavier than I was two years ago, and the weather didn't exactly help. But the people here are wonderful; the support is unbelievable. This is just a good place."



Abytaxpayer 3 years, 8 months ago

A BIG Thank You to the workers and support staff who braved this weather your good spirits helped make running in the rain not quite so bad. A Great day in Albany even with the bad weather.


TrixibelleBento 3 years, 8 months ago

A big thank you for the folks who ran and biked in our event! We hope you will come back!


coachjohnson42 3 years, 8 months ago

Phoebe is going to make a lot of money treating all the sick people who tried to run in the rain today.....


Somebody 3 years, 8 months ago

Brave the Storm? What storm? All we had is just a little rain. It's not like there were Tornadoes blowing around Albany with 100 mph winds & heavy thunder and lightning.


Somebody 3 years, 8 months ago

Outside working in the yard. there wasn't enough storm to keep me indoors. unless you call a little rain a big storm. I still did not see any tornadoes.


Shinedownfan 3 years, 8 months ago

When I went to Publix on Saturday, it picked then to rain hard & have a couple nasty lightning strikes and some thunder BOOMS. I got 4 inches of rain at my house too. Makes me wonder where "Somebody" lives.


Somebody 3 years, 8 months ago

One thunder & lightning, yeah I heard that one thunder and we had a little rain, but I still don't consider it a storm. Maybe I overslept, but when I looked outside there was a little rain, but I wouldn't call it a storm. My definbition of a storm is high winds, heavy rain, thunder & lighning continuously. There were no limbs or broken branches in my yard, so it could not have been much of a storm. Those places that had the deadly tornadoes, now that's a storm, didn't see any of that here in Albany.


DebBruner 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks to all that made Saturday's races possible. From the year-long planning to the awesome stormy day event. Looking forward to next year's events.


rock 3 years, 8 months ago

The event went well except fpr the idiots that did traffic control!! APD you guys were terrible!


Abytaxpayer 3 years, 8 months ago

Rock I have to disagree. APD did a Great job from what I saw and was told by other runners. The biggest commits I have heard about traffic control was due to a FEW impatient and rude drivers, some even driving at or above the speed limits with only an orange cone between the runners and people in such a hurry they could not even slowdown or move over in the pouring rain. Just saying it was bad enough running through some deep water at times only to be sprayed by a passing car. Thanks Again to ALL who stood in the rain and helped with the events and supported the runners and bikers.


Supes0611 3 years, 8 months ago

Such a great event and wonderful volunteers. Thanks for all the hard planning!!


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