Today's Duluth News-Tribune reports, HERE, that Grandma's Marathon has instituted a new protocol for dealing with hot weather. According to the story, the protocol calls for race officials to decide on the Thursday afternoon prior to the Saturday event -- today in this year's case -- whether the race would be shortened to a half marathon distance or cancelled.
The new protocol, the story says, comes in response to last year's second-warmest Grandma's which had "maxed out" the event's abilities to respond to emergencies, according to Grandma's medical director. The change in policy also comes in the wake of tropical conditions at last fall's Medtronic Twin Cities and Chicago Marathons.
The Weather Channel's hour-by-hour forecast, HERE, currently projects a start-time temperature of 59 degrees with a 53 degree dew-pint and 80% humidity for this year's race. A high of 73 degrees is forecast for Saturday in Duluth.
The Hot Weather Issue ... Down the Backstretch, you might remember, discussed the marathon weather issue last fall. We suggested -- and our readers agreed -- that moving the date Grandma's to earlier in the year and pushing TCM later would make for faster and safer racing conditions.
You can read our TCM editorial HERE.
The Grandma's editorial that followed it is HERE.
We've also moved the results of two informal polls we took on the matter up on the DtB sidebar.
A response from Grandma's Marathon executive director Scott Keenan is HERE.
As he did in that DtB response last fall, Keenan says in today's News-Tribune story that Grandma's has no intention of moving its race date from its traditional third Saturday in June.
Elite Fields for Grandma's and Garry Bjorklund ... The Grandma's Marathon men's field, HERE, has the makings for a Kenya versus Ethiopia dual meet. (Where have Grandma's Russian men gone?) The women's field, HERE, has a nice mix of Kenyan, East European, and American talent, including defending champ Mary Akor.
We're pleased to see the growing depth of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon fields, thanks to its increased prize money in recent years. The Bjorklund men's field field is posted HERE, the women are HERE.