You may have heard that the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon closed down their race after only 2:35. The reason? High temperatures sent about 20 people to the emergency room and dozens more were evaluated on-site for heat illness.
People are questioning whether or not the race should have been suspended.
People are questioning whether or not the race should have even started.
I will not knock a race director for making a judgement on the side of safety.
That said - I think there's a larger issue at play here
Did runners start losing their sense of personal responsibility?
Isn't it every runner's duty to know the signs of heat illness and react accordingly (i.e. before it becomes a medical crisis)?
I know that there are negligent organizers in the world, and I would not want to race with one of them. And cancelling a race for a hurricane, blizzard, tornado, or heat wave is perfectly logical.
But the blame game lately seems to be shifting the balance - especially for warmer than "expected" weather - away from runners and onto the shoulders of race organizers. In reality, a race director will never know if my personal "too hot" is 70 degrees or 85. It should be my responsibility to know my limits and plan/react accordingly. If I feel taxed by the weather, it should be me who is smart enough to slow down, walk, dunk my head in an ice bucket, or DNF.
Yes, even DNF is an option . The shot fired from a starting gun is merely a signal. No one points it at a runner's head and says "You will finish!"
So, in general, my mental math looks something like this
A race that runs out of water = organizer's fault
A runner who pushes too hard and gets hurt = runner's fault
In reality, situations are rarely so clear-cut, but I worry that if this blame-game trend continues, we'll soon be left only with December races in Seattle. (Oh, but then there would be rain...)
What's your take on calling off or cancelling races on account of the weather?