Running is a sport that prides itself in competing in all weather conditions.
While races are conducted rain or shine, in heat and cold, and are rarely canceled, there is precedent — both near and far — for calling off a race.
The 2010 Myrtle Beach Marathon was canceled due to a snow storm and the 2007 Chicago Marathon was canceled hours after it started because of sweltering heat. And while those are marathons, there certainly would be conditions in which it would be risky to hold races that distance or shorter.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning all would present safety reasons to cancel a race.
The latter is possible Saturday morning.
As of 5:30 p.m. today, National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Bright said the forecast for Saturday’s 39th Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk has a “likely” chance, or 60-70 percent chance, of thunder and lightning at “daybreak,” or about the time 30,000 people are massing in corrals along Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.
That risk is accompanied with an 80 percent chance of rain at 5 a.m. Saturday, when runners begin lining up for shuttles or finding other ways to get the starting line. The rain chance diminishes to 60 percent by 11 a.m.
Today, Bridge Run Race Director Julian Smith said officials will consider weather conditions early in the morning and make a call based on the latest information. Assistant Race Director Tami Varn added that if lightning takes place before the start, the contingency plan could involve delaying the race.
Emily Trogdon, public relations director for Momentum Marketing, added that any decisions about the race will be posted first on the Bridge Run’s Facebook page starting in the 3:30 a.m. Saturday time frame.
The National Weather Service offers the following guidelines for staying safe during a lightning storm:
NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)
Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
Never lie flat on the ground.
Never seek shelter under an isolated tree.
Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.