The race director of the Run with the Angels event had a tough call early Saturday morning.
Western New York was hit with a heavy downpour of rain -- we almost didn't recognize it at first -- and some North Buffalo streets and viaducts had been covered over with water. A race and picnic were coming up in a couple of hours. The forecast wasn't particularly good for the next few hours either. What to do?
Such decisions are why serving as a race director is such a thankless job.
Meg Richardson opted to cancel the day's activities. That's never an easy move, but it probably was the right call.
First all, she didn't have just the race to consider, as the school was throwing a big party as well. Surely the grass on the front yard was going to be a mess, and moving everything inside on that sort of notice would have been very, very difficult to impossible. So in that sense, Richardson didn't have much breathing room.
Second, while the streets were pretty clear after 9 a.m., it did rain hard around 10 o'clock. I've seen runners go through almost anything, but even the diehards probably would admit it wouldn't have been much fun.
And third, I can never blame anyone for putting safety ahead of all other considerations, including financial.
Some runners didn't hear in time and showed up anyway, while others did hear and picked up their shirts. It might be a good idea for Holy Angels to offer some sort of discount to those who preregistered this year when it comes to signing up next year. (Would mailing unclaimed shirts out, if it hasn't been done already, buy some good will? Maybe.)
By the way, I can think of very, very few races that have been cancelled on race day for any reason over the years. So chalk this one up to bad luck all the way around.
The weekend has some races that hopefully will go on as scheduled. Our friends at buffalorunners.com has the list:
* Brothers of Mercy 5K, 4520 Ransom Road in Clarence, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 759-7808. I always like running around the Tillman Road Nature Preserve.
* Dunlop 5K Run for Charity, 900 Sheridan Park in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 879-8432.
* Lebro's Fall Classic, 5K, 330 Campbell Blvd. in Getzville, 10 a.m. Saturday, 689-4507. They traditionally give out some of the best premiums of the year.
* Connor's Wiener Run 5K, 8934 Old Lakeshore Road in Angola-on-the-Lake, 10 a.m. Saturday, 926-2218.
* WNY Hispanic Veterans Memorial Monument 5K, 1 Marine Dr. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday, 207-3863.
* 8 in the Rough Trail Run, 8.7 miles, Sprague Brook Park casino in Glenwood, 10 a.m. Sunday, 574-0888. They have the right phone number, at least.
* 21st annual Shea's Run for the Arts 5K, 646 Main St. in Buffalo, 11:30 a.m. Sunday, 553-0179. If you preregister early enough, this is the best deal of the year because of the steep discount. I know people who run it for that reason, and it's surprising the idea hasn't spread.
--- Budd Bailey