Nationals: Classic Distance Race Canceled

Train WreckJanuary 6, 2009

With the temperature on course hovering near or below the -4F cutoff, today’s classic distance race at Kincaid Park has been canceled. The jury held out as long as possible to make a race happen, but concluded that they could never ensure that the course would be warm enough for the duration of the event. The course had already been condensed to use yesterday’s 5 and 10K, allowing for a shorter event.

A call had been made 30 minutes prior to the start to pick up bibs and prepare the races in the event that the race would start. Athletes and racers were literally on the way out the door when the call was made. The air around the venue was exiting and tense, but unfortunately ended up for the worse.

Today was originally scheduled as an off day, but after the opening event – the classic sprint – was postponed due to low temperatures, the distance classic event was switched to today, with the sprint moved to tomorrow (Wednesday).

The reason for the switch is that the sprint, with qualification for close to 400 athletes, and full heats, is an all day affair. An individual start distance race can be run in its entirety in several hours. Based on the weather forecast, the best opportunity to run the individual sprint was deemed to be tomorrow. Today’s classic race was shortened from a 10/15km to a 5/10km in order further decrease the size of the window of acceptable temperatures needed to accommodate the event.

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, and temperatures at the scheduled start time were still below the FIS legal limit of -4 F.

In recent years, lack of snow and warm temperatures have been the biggest concern for race organizers. In those situations, however, there are some measures to be taken to salvage a desperate situation. When the issue at hand is cold temperatures, however, there is nothing to be done but wait and hope.

Stay tuned for more updates, pictures, and interviews on yesterday’s races, and today’s events.
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