DULUTH, MN — Runners are bracing for some unfriendly weather conditions for Grandma’s Marathon.
Saturday’s forecast is calling for some potential storms, but race officials remain confident runners will still be crossing the finish line in Canal Park come Saturday.
“What we can hope for for the runners sake is that it’s a cool, overcast day,” Grandma’s Marathon PR Director Mandi Peterson said. “A slight tail wind would be nice, but we’ll see what Saturday brings.”
The decision to delay, postpone, or cancel will be left up to race officials and the National Weather Service.
It’s a call they’ve had to make only once in the race’s existence, but that doesn’t mean runners haven’t faced rain and cold temperatures before.
“The two main things we’d be concerned about would be kind of the colder weather and hypothermia,” Essentia Health’s Dr. Kenji Sudoh said.
Medical experts say the most important thing for racers to do is to have dry clothes to change into after the race because that’s when the body cools off.
“Typically, colder weather is actually nice for runners,” Dr. Sudoh said. “The hardest thing is that people don’t realize that you can get too cold.”
Experts also suggest wearing a hat or visor, and a rain-resistant shell to keep you warm and dry.
“People can usually adapt to those conditions and making sure that you’re wearing proper attire,” Dr. Sudoh said. “That you’re wearing clothes that are clothes that will keep you warm.”
So what happens if conditions become too dangerous for runners? Officials say they will meet both Friday night and early Saturday morning to evaluate and discuss.
Forecasts last year showed similar conditions to this Saturday’s days before the race.
On that day, the storms held up. This year, race officials are hoping for much of the same.
“It was a great nice, cool, calm day for the runners,” Peterson said. “Yes, there are potential thunderstorms and some iffy things in the forecast, but we’re not too concerned because we really are just taking it day-by-day, and with Duluth you never really know.”
The race will have shuttles on-hand to put people in in case they have to wait out a storm.