Violent Storm Cancels Naples Half Marathon

By David Monti, @d9monti

(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)
The wind-whipped start line banner of the 2015 Naples Daily News

FLORIDA (17-Jan) — A brief but powerful storm took down trees and
power lines here this morning forcing cancellation of the Naples Daily
News Half-Marathon for the first time in the event’s 29-year history.
The course, although completely set up before dawn, simply wasn’t safe
for the 2100 runners who had signed up for the event, race officials

“It was scary,” said longtime race director Perry
Silverman sitting with his race management team in a Starbucks in the
picturesque downtown area here. “There were power lines down out there.”

working with local authorities, had worked to move the starting time
back one hour to 8:00 a.m., but the damage was too great to resolve in
time even for a later start.

“We moved it back to eight
o’clock,” the white-haired Silverman explained, looking tired. “We set
up the course at 3:00 a.m.; it came in so fast.”

Also blown
away with the storm were the chances of a handful of athletes who had
come here on the final day of qualifying to try to get a USA Olympic
Marathon Trials qualifying mark (65:00 for men or 75:00 for women).
Four men had signed up for the race with the intention of qualifying
–Al Escalera, Ethan Clary, Kurt Roeser, and Thomas Porter– while a
fifth, Lex Williams, also hoped to hit the mark, but did not intend to
run the Trials.

Moreover, another 14 American athletes who had
already qualified for the Trials had planned to use today’s race as a
tune-up run, including Tyler McCandless of Boulder, Colo. McCandless,
who finished third here last year in a personal best 63:14, told Race
Results Weekly yesterday that he was in excellent shape.

of any races next weekend, haha?” McCandless said in a text message to
Race Results Weekly this morning. “At least I’m not curled in bed
sick,” he continued, referring to a half-marathon in 2013 when he
traveled to the Italian island of Sardinia and couldn’t compete because
of illness.

Dozens of American athletes are tuning-up for the
Trials –or hoping to qualify– at other races today in Carlsbad,
Calif.; Houston, Texas; and Tempe, Ariz. In Tempe, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll
Arizona Half-Marathon, four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman is pacing a
group of me to a 65:00 finish.

For Silverman, it was a
difficult decision to cancel the race here, but he said he had no
choice because one neighborhood in the heart of the course, Port Royal,
was badly hit.

“It was only 15 minutes of storm,” he lamented. “All of the problems were in Port Royal.”

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