Disappointment in Savannah

“Disappointment” is just one of the words I would describe how I felt as Saturday morning unfolded in Savannah, Georgia at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon. I wasn’t racing but was there to support, Lauren Nolan, running her first marathon. Here I’ll share my experience from the weekend.

If you race and support others racing, you may find it’s much harder being the supporter than the racer and that is the case for me. When racing I feel I’m in control of what happens but when I’m supporting, I’m not in control and I find that challenging. I was so excited for Lauren to run this race. This time a year ago she couldn’t run more than three miles and now she was getting ready to race 26.2 miles. She worked so hard this entire year to get to this weekend and she was ready. She was confident and I was as well.

We arrived Friday mid-day to pick up her packet and got ready for the race Saturday morning. Rain was in the forecast so we went through all of her protocols to get to the start line as warm and dry as possible. An hour before the race she received an email stating the marathon was canceled but participants could choose to run in the 1/2 marathon instead. It was raining and 48 degrees but we were perplexed for the reason to cancel the marathon. Perplexed, surprised, frustrated, and disappointed emotions permeated through both of us. For a few minutes we discussed running the 1/2 marathon and she decided she wanted to do it and stated she was ready to set a personal record. I’m not sure if I could have run the 1/2 marathon after that let down but she was IN!

We covered up including putting a garbage bag over her as one additional layer to quickly drop at the start line and headed out towards the race. I brought my bike so I could be near early in the race to catch any clothing she wished to shed as she warmed up. We arrived to the start line close to 7:20 for the 7:30 start and she had a perfect position near the front of the first corral. I hung inside through the national anthem at 7:27 and immediately after the conclusion the race announcer told the racers to get ready and cheers followed. Lauren handed me her trash bag and I pedaled about a 1/4 mile up the course to get out of the soon to be traffic.

I looked back at 7:30 and they didn’t start. I was perplexed again. Then a few more minutes went by and another few minutes. I heard a roar from the runners so I and other bikers who were volunteers for the event got ready and then nothing. There was no movement from the runners other than seeing them jumping up and down to stay warm. This went on for a few more minutes and I heard another roar from the runners but they didn’t start again. Another few minutes went by and I heard another roar but yet the runners were not starting. Several of the volunteers on bikes passed me and took a left turn off course. I heard the cyclist in the back state, “I’m outta here…” I thought to myself, “oh no…” as I was wondering if they had announced a cancelation or delay.

Then I heard, “Alan, let’s go. I’m done.” It was Lauren who walked up the quarter mile to find me. She was sitting in the corral for 30 minutes with no idea when they were going to start so she decided to pull the plug. She explained the roars from the corrals that I thought was excitement of the runners getting ready to start were roars of frustration from the lack of communication on the delay and other commentary not suited to sit well with runners standing in the wet and cold conditions when many had shed their top layer after the national anthem.

I felt so bad for her. I felt helpless. That turned to frustration and extreme disappointment. We went back to our room and discussed what was next. When they announced the cancelation early in the morning she immediately signed up for the marathon I was registered for three week later. So we will now being racing our first marathons together which is very cool. I really wanted to be in Savannah just for her. This was her day but we of course could not control the decision to cancel. Now we are turning our mindset to running the Space Coast Marathon together.

We turned our Saturday into enjoying great food and chilling. We got up early Sunday morning and ran 20 miles going up and down every street from east to west. She is back on plan to race in three weeks and I can’t wait to be a part of it. She WILL be ready to go. And so will I…

– Add Health to Your Life

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