We wanted to take a few minutes to respond to the many emails and social media posts that have come our way since Sunday. And let’s start off with a hearty thank you to all who came to enjoy this event. We appreciate your participation and commitment.
Now on to the results. Here is how we have sorted out the results issues from our race this past weekend. The official cutoff time will remain at 4 hours and 30 minutes. This is not an arbitrary number. The race conditions reached the Extreme Risk threshold and the decision to suspend the race was made at 3 hours and 58 minutes. Given that we established a 6 hour and 30 minute time limit prior to the event that translates to a 14:52 minute/mile pace. With that pace in mind, and calculating the distance from the final aid station before the finish line (1.2 miles), we concluded that any runner who was inside the last aid station, and therefore not likely to have been informed of the termination, should be included in the final results. Additionally, we had to account for communication of the plan to the aid stations and get supplemental runner services in place. We elected to double the time allowance inside that final aid station, which would render a time cutoff of 4:27:04 and we rounded to 4:30.
The decision to terminate the race was based on providing a safe experience. The Emergency Alert System was adopted by our organization several years ago and we have utilized it as part of our operational platform. This past Sunday was the first time we’ve ever had to stop a race in progress and we greatly appreciate those runners who complied with the requests to leave the course. For those, who didn’t, we understand the desire to complete your quest, however we cannot reward your decision by including those results after the cutoff, as it would undermine our intentions to provide a safe experience. The decision to leave the timing system running was made in order to give loved ones more access to the information provided by the runner tracking services.
Now to address the questions that have come to us and mitigate the rumors:
Medical was overwhelmed – not true, they were certainly very busy but still had capacity to accept more patients if needed. Interestingly, the demand for medical attention abated very shortly after the race was terminated, even with the continuing flow of runners.
You knew the weather ahead of time so you should have canceled the race before it started – we did know the weather and our 5:30am forecast on race day projected conditions that would have stayed within the High Risk area of the Emergency Alert System which would be acceptable conditions to conduct an event. Some requested an earlier start time which was explored but deemed not possible as public safety resources could not be re-scheduled on short notice.
Why were runners allowed to continue if the race was over? – Very simple, as a race organization, we have no authority to make someone comply with our practices, and neither do the police. If the race is over, then the course becomes open to public access.
The 50 States Club will only honor those included within the “Official Results” – this one is true. And we support their position as they wish to encourage their members to follow the rules and practices of event organizers across the country.
This will ruin my chance to qualify for Boston – only if you’re a woman of 65 and over or a man of 75 and over. All other age groups have qualifying times under 4:30.
I won’t be eligible to complete the New England Double – by mutual agreement between RunVermont and the Hartford Marathon Foundation any runner that passed the 13.1 split time on Sunday will be included in the program.
I won’t be eligible to complete the RunVermont Grand Prix – and just like the New England Double, any runner who received a 13.1 split time on Sunday will be included in the program.
Our team and our Board of Directors are just as disappointed as every one of you who were out there training for months, only to be denied the satisfaction of your accomplishment by factors beyond your control. Just like you, our team has been working for months to plan and execute this event. And we’re runners just like you, we get it. That’s why we immediately decided to award medals to anyone who was brave enough to make the attempt on Sunday… that effort deserves a medal.
There were certainly shortcomings in our implementation; inconsistent messages on the course, aid station resupply timing and transportation delays that we’ll learn from and make the necessary adjustments. Finally, the end goal of this system is to ensure the safety of our runners, and to that measure the system did just what it was intended to do - everyone got to go home afterwards.
Peter Delaney Nicole Ravlin Executive Director Board Chair RunVermont RunVermont