Metric Marathon & 5K

Metric Cancellation Information December 7, 2008

As race directors of the Columbia Metric Marathon & 5K, we would like to explain why the race today was  cancelled, and to provide you with an understanding of the reasons why we are unable to re-schedule the race event or to issue a refund.

As we were setting up the registration tables this morning, we heard from the traffic coordinator that the race was called off due to “black ice” on the roads and snow and ice on the bike paths. In conjunction with the Howard County Police, who expressed concern that these conditions could result in accidents involving, not only runners, but cars, police vehicles and/or the lead motorcycle, he was in agreement that we should cancel the race. In fact, when the coordinator and Howard County Striders president went to retrieve the course markers, the road conditions were deteriorating – more snow, ice (especially in shaded areas), and wind. They observed 2 down-hill sections that were coated in black ice which could have been extremely treacherous to runners. We did not want to risk any runners having an accident.

Furthermore, considering the distance of the course (16.2 miles), we were concerned that some runners (and thus volunteers), would be out on the course for 3 or more hours in the blistering cold. This would probably be a miserable experience, and could result in frostbite or hypothermia.

We know that many of you felt dissatisfied, especially those of you who drove long distances (and left home early) to run the race. Please be assured, that after the months of planning and coordinating, we, as race directors, were as disappointed as anybody could be. We planned for all the contingencies we could, but (needless to say), the weather was beyond our control. There were also hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and providers who were eagerly anticipating this event, and were let down.

Many runners asked if the Metric Marathon could be re-scheduled for another date. Unfortunately, for many reasons, this would not be feasible. The first reason is that a race like ours requires almost 200 volunteers and to merely re-schedule it would be a logistical impossibility. Long before the race, fliers have to be printed, permits (for bike paths, Lakefront, etc.) have to be obtained, the work schedules of the police (including overtime) need to be set up, certain key people have to be available, shirts have to be printed, and other support needs to be in place. People involved in our race simply cannot re-commit after making plans many months in advance.

As for refunds, I know that many of you feel “cheated” out of your  money.  We certainly understand, since many of you put in hours of training and effort  to run this race.  Please keep in mind that certain expenditures are incurred in advance of the race as, for example, costs of printing registration forms, the portable toilets, and food (bagels, pizza, etc.). In other words, this money has already been spent in advance. However, we are offering a $5 discount to those registering for next year’s race (details will follow).   Knowing that many runners would show up for the run, we did all we could to accommodate those who were inconvenienced. Our pre-race volunteers (who showed up at 6am) served food and drinks, gave out shirts and gloves, and tried to address the needs and concerns of the runners, despite the bitter cold. We want to thank these and the many volunteers who worked “behind the scenes.” We appreciate your patience and understanding.

For those of you who did not come by the race this morning, we still have some shirts left. If you will send us an e-mail with your name, contact information, and shirt size, we will mail you a shirt while supplies last (free shipping to you). If you wish to pick it up at our house, let us know and we will make arrangements for you to stop by. (FYI – the shirt sizes leftover are overwhelmingly medium; however, we have all sizes in short-sleeve Metric shirts.). If you would like a shirt, send an email to:

The  next (33rd) Metric Marathon & 5K will be next December –  the 6th to be exact.  Put it on your calendar, and we hope to see you then.

John & Ann Worley, Race Directors