Chevron Houston Marathon expected to go on as planned

January 9, 2013 4:00:06 PM PST
The midweek storms will move on, bringing a temporary end to the rain, but what about this weekend? Another round of possibly severe storms is in the forecast, just in time for the Chevron Houston Marathon, and impacting the thousands who will be in the race, or out there supporting the runners.

Right now it is a green light for Sunday's marathon. They are expecting 25,000 runners , as well as an army of volunteers and public safety personnel. Everything is expected to go off without a hitch, but then there is the Texas weather to consider.

On a stormy Wednesday morning, a handful of runners were in Memorial Park, unfazed by the weather. At least one will be in the half marathon on Sunday morning.

"People who love marathon will do that," said runner Horan Tabar. "People who love running will do that."

The question is whether conditions will allow it. Two years ago, rain blew through during the running of that year's marathon, but the event proceeded. The marathon committee for now is betting history will repeat itself this weekend.

"We're hoping that 30 percent chance of rain misses the area inside the 610 loop," said Houston Marathon Executive Director Wade Morehead. "But right now ideal conditions for race day for the Chevron Houston Marathon Aramco Half Marathon are on."

That means cool weather and light rain -- ideal for running. Weather, though, can be a moving target to predict. What you may not realize is one thing that can stop an event in its tracks is lightning. The marathon committee has always had a policy in place for that.

Morehead explained, "If there's lightning within 10 miles of the region we certainly will delay start time and communicate with everyone accordingly. Participant safety is our number one concern."

Race day weather conditions will be monitored by the marathon committee and the fire and police departments directly from what's called the unified command center -- an HFD mobile response vehicle, which also has its own weather satellite receiver. If weather would force the race to be stopped, the decision would be made from that center. Runners would be notified by digital signs along the route, with this message...

"We're no longer keeping time. Seek refuge," said HFD Captain Ruy Lozano.

If the marathon should have to be called off or cancelled, race entry fees are non-refundable. In 41 years of the Houston Marathon, such a cancellation has never happened, and officials don't expect it to happen this year either.

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