The threat of severe weather threat Sunday held off just long enough to squeeze in the GO St. Louis Marathon, the day after lightning forced the cancellation of the event`s 5K run Saturday.
Troubling weather has caused problems at the marathon in recent years: from excessive heat to steady rain. Sunday, it was the wind. But it wasn`t all bad.In 2009, a steady rain made it one, tough, wet shoe, blister boiling 'slog'.
Last year, excessive heat forced organizers to cut the route short for more than 2,000 of the record 18,000 runners, as participants wilted in the sun. Volunteers even carried runners across the finish line.
Tim McCarthy, of Chesterfield, finished last year and was back for more this time; grateful for the family support, Gatorade and a tolerable 72 degrees at mile 22.
'Last year we were watching all the golf carts go by as they were taking runners away, going, `I hope he`s not on that one`,' said McCarthy`s wife, Vicki. 'It was so hot, I mean even just sitting, watching, we were hot. By the time he came around, oh my gosh, all the runners were just pouring water. There was no excessive heat this time; no rain either; just the wind. Running into it may have made the course seem a little longer, but there was a benefit, too.
'The wind`s helped us,' said race director, Brian Lyons. 'It`s helped them keep their body temperature down a little bit. Whenever the sweat evaporates off, it helps them stay cooler.The wind actually felt pretty good. It was humid. But the wind felt pretty good,' said runner, Pat Masching, of O`Fallon, IL. He served as a 'pacer' to help a younger runner beat the 4 hour mark. For the most part, it was weather to celebrate; a struggle to finish at times. But it was a marathon. It was St. Louis and about 16,000 full, half, and relay marathoners were determined to finish what they started weather be damned.
'What a great event and great day, huh !' Masching beamed.
It sure beat 2 of the last 3 years.
Julius Kosgei of Searcy, Arkansas, won the men's full marathon with a time of 2:28:38. Jackie Pirtle-Hall of St. Charles won the women's, with a time of 2:42:03.
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