VIDEO REPORT: Madison Marathon’s Full Marathon Canceled

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

UPDATED: Sunday,May 27, 2012 --- 3:30 p.m.

Madison Marathon's half-marathon was held Sunday morning as scheduled. The full-marathon was canceled on Friday.

Jules Miller won the half-marathon with a time of 1:10:38.

Liz Berkholtz was the top female finisher with a time of 1:19:39.


UPDATED: Friday, May 25, 2012 --- 12:45 p.m.

From Madison Festivals, Inc.:

MADISON – In accordance with American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, Madison Marathon’s race officials decided to cancel the full Madison Marathon (May 27) due to predicted extreme weather conditions. Race officials include the race director, medical director, course director, and the board of Madison Festivals, Inc. (MFI), the non-profit organization that owns the Madison Marathon.

The forecast predicts temperatures to increase dramatically to the danger zone by 10 a.m. and to extreme danger by noon.

“This was an incredibly thought-out decision to make,” said MFI president Rita Kelliher. “It’s heart-breaking for all of us and we understand the runners’ investment of training, fees and travel expenses.”

Kelliher said full marathon registrants will automatically be entered into the half marathon. Full marathoners who choose to run the half will receive a full marathon medal at the finish line. Marathoners can get their marathon t-shirt at the Runners Expo at Monona Terrace (Friday, 4-7 p.m and Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) or have it mailed to them at their request postage-free. Each full marathon entrant, regardless if he or she chooses to run in the half, will receive a $20 credit for the 2013 Madison Marathon, despite the event’s “no-refund” policy. Runners will be contacted in June with further details.

The Madison Marathon’s medical director, Dr. David Bernhardt, is an experienced marathoner, Medical facts about what one’s core temperature will be running in heat, humidity, under clear skies with no cloud cover for 3-6 hours regardless of how much one drinks or how many sprinklers one runs through would put all but elite marathoners at risk of heat stroke, collapse or worse.

“Based on race organizers’ 2010 numbers, when high temperatures overwhelmed many runners and overtaxed the race’s medical team and city emergency resources, only one percent would complete the marathon in Sunday’s predicted heat,” said race director Keith Peterson.

“Canceling the race before it starts has a safety advantage for the community because experience from mid-race cancellation shows many participants continue to run on the course after cancellation. This makes it difficult to track and manage runners’ specific medical problems and it further taxes an already overloaded medical system.

The care and transport of collapsed runners on the race course is overwhelmed by the large volume of heat-stressed runners. Response time lengthens and puts runners at risk. More importantly, community access to the emergency medical system may be compromised.

“We want our marathon to be safe for all runners and for the community that supports us,” says Kelliher.

Race officials caution half marathon runners to slow their pace and take breaks in the shade and drink plenty of fluids. Six medical stations and eight water stations are located on the course, along with medically trained personnel on bikes between stations.

The course will be open until 11:30 a.m., thereby increasing the pace from 14 to 18.5 minute miles.


UPDATED Friday, May 25, 2012 --- 8:20 a.m.

As we've reported, organizers of the Madison Marathon say there's a good chance the full marathon on Sunday will be canceled due to the heat.

A final decision will be made later today.

Stay with for continuing coverage.


UPDATED Wednesday, May 23, 2012 --- 7:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Organizers of the Madison Marathon say there's a good chance the longer race this weekend will be canceled if the forecast holds up.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 80s under sunny skies. If Sunday's marathon is canceled, organizers say runners will have the option of doing a half marathon.

Madison Festivals president Rita Kelliher says they have thousands of medals to be given out, but that the safety of the runners is the number one concern.

1,750 runners are registered for the full marathon and nearly 3,700 for the half-marathon.

The Cellcom marathon in Green Bay was halted last Sunday because of heat and humidity. About 20 runners were taken to the hospital.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED Tuesday, May 22, 2012 --- 11:00 p.m.

Organizers say there is a "significant chance" they will cancel the full Madison Marathon race on Sunday.

If canceled, marathon runners will be offered spots in the half marathon, which will be extended so runners can slow their pace adjusting to the heat. Aid stations, police, and other officials will divert away from the full marathon course to support more runners in the half marathon.

"The indication is right now that we are going to have a warm, hot, and humid race day," said Race Director Keith Peterson. "Our average finish time for the full marathon was 4:14 minutes, so that puts the majority of runners out there until 11:15, so yes that creates a dangerous situation."

Unlike cancellations in 2006 and 2010 due to heat, staff say they'll make a final decision before the race by Friday at 4 p.m.

Organizers say they have not decided whether they will offer refunds if the full marathon is canceled. Participants will still get their finishing medals and other prizes.

This year a 10K race is also scheduled at twilight on Saturday.


UPDATED Tuesday, May 22, 2012 --- 4:35 p.m.

The following was posted on the Madison Marathon Facebook Page:

In accordance with American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, there is a significant chance the Madison Marathon’s full marathon may be canceled due to predicted high temperatures on Sunday, May 27. A final decision will be made by Friday at 4 p.m.

If canceled, all full marathon runners will have the option to run the half marathon.

At this point, the half marathon will take place as scheduled (May 27 at 7:12 a.m.). If the full marathon is canceled, the half marathon course will be open from 7:12-11:30 a.m., giving half marathon runners an extra hour to slow their pace.

This is not a cancellation announcement. A final decision will be made by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 25.


Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012 --- 2:23 p.m.

Press Release:

The Madison Marathon and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, May 27. There will be traffic patterns and road closures that will affect the downtown area from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Click the link above for a map.) First and foremost, this marks the first time the race will CLOSE John Nolen Dr., North Shore Dr., and Proudfit St. Additional downtown routes that should be avoided include Gorham St., W. Washington Ave., and Williamson St.

This is also the first year that the 10K race (formerly the Quarter Marathon) is being held on the evening of Saturday, May 26. The twilight starts at 8 p.m. myTEAM TRIUMPH, an athletic mentoring program for challenged athletes, is participating in the event. myTEAM TRIUMPH allows individuals with disabilities the chance to experience the thrill of crossing the finish line. They will "Captain" a team of "Angels" through an entire race guaranteeing them their moment of glory as they cross that finish line that so many of us take for granted.

Also, the National Black Marathoners Association has made Madison Marathon their official races for 2012. And active and veteran military personnel will be recognized with special race bibs.

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