Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Season Recap: The Elements

As New Englanders, we know that Mother Nature can easily change best-laid plans. As the snow keeps coming here in CT, we reflect back on the extremes in 2013.

Look - no snow!
Courthouse O'Putnam 5K & Wee Mile

Weather challenges began with our very first race: the Courthouse O’Putnam 5K & Wee Mile.  Days before the race, 24 inches of snow was dumped on Putnam so we needed to ensure the entire course was plowed, making it as ice-free as possible and safe for running was a major endeavor.  Kudos go out to the Putnam Public Works Department for working with us and getting our course cleared in time for race day!

Volunteer handing out water
Amica Ironhorse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K
On the other end of the spectrum, the Amica Ironhorse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K in June was one of our hottest races to date. The #1 priority driving extreme weather decision-making is runner safety, and behind the scenes it’s all about planning. The forecast showed temperatures around 80 degrees with humidity around 65-70%. We set up extra water stations along the course, urged runners to take it easy and listen to their bodies, and told volunteers to keep their eyes open for runners who might be struggling. We put plans in place for extreme heat with a color-coded system for runners. The race began at 7:30 a.m. and a little after 10:00 a.m., we called RED alert, which strongly suggested that those still on the course finish the race walking. It was a nerve-wracking day, but the safety precautions combined with runner awareness and great work by EMTs and Simsbury Fire helped keep everyone safe.

Our second X-Treme Scramble in July was another hot one. We do everything possible not to cancel races on our participants but we need to keep them safe.  We shortened the course, added some great services like dunk pools, ice bags  and cool water misters, and invited all registered runners to the post-race party even if they didn’t want to run in the heat.

Niantic Bay Triathlon

It’s not always day-of weather than can affect races.  We were forced to re-route the Niantic Bay Triathlon to avoid areas along the Connecticut shore that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.   No course change or race decision is ever made lightly – we want runners to know we have always have their back, even when making the right call isn’t always the most popular.

We can’t know what weather patterns lay ahead in 2014 for our races, but we will spend the short off-season planning for all possibilities.  Have any ideas or feedback on HMF events, please share them in comments!


  1. Niantic Bay was great, reroutes and all! Favorite race of the year! Beautiful course! Though I was biased this year since I got engaged at the end! ;) - Thanks for a great 2013 - Karin