Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 17, 2016
VERIZON RACE CANCELLED BY MOTHER NATURE
Yes, the Morristown Police cancelled the Verizon Corporate Challenge on Thursday evening, but it was really Mother Nature who made the call.
Rolling rapidly through Morris County an Apocalyptic summer storm tore into Morristown and surrounding areas in what some have described as a tornado. The weather service disagrees but the effects were much the same with trees down and taking power lines down with them.
A Facebook photo montage posted by Robert Barwick shows the destruction at Morristown High School that took out four of the organizer’s canopies and flung them about like rags on a pole.
Race director Dan Brannen did reconnaissance of his own after getting word from the police that the race could not go on.
“Immediately after the storm, while it was still winding down, I drove the middle section of the course.” Said Brannen. “There was a tree which had fallen on a wire, and there was a situation where the wire was up in its normal position on one side and all the way on the ground in the other side. The tree was hanging on the wire. At any moment the wire could go, and then the tree would go.”
Worse hit along the course was Washington Avenue according to Brannen.
“The police had it completely closed off and JCP&L had trucks there,” he said. “As of eleven p.m. Thursday night the road was still closed.”
Brannen said that the police commandeered their orange traffic cones that were to have been used to create a running lane for the runners and put them to use to block roads.
Most cancelled events, like the Verizon race, do not attempt to reschedule. Yet the organizers of the event would like to reschedule if possible. The uniqueness of the event almost demands a do-over.
While the storm was tearing through the high school parking lot staff was able to salvage all of the Goody Bags and the Goody Bags in this race are a very big deal to the participants.
They were able to salvage about half of the-shirts. Half of the brand new, just printed T-shirts were ruined and will have to be replaced.
“At the very least we owe it to our participants to come somewhere and turn in their bib tag and get their T-shirt and Goody Bag,” said Brannen.
They do not have a location where these things can be available for people to come in and pick up. So it has to be done is such a way that everyone comes at the same time.
“Logistically it’s the only way that it can be done,” he said. “So if we’re going to do that why not try to recreate the event in some form.”
So many factors go into rescheduling. The professionals who put on the event have other events on their schedule. Like the River to Sea that Brannen co directs that will be taking place on Saturday, August 6th.
Approval would have to be given by the town council to run the full 5K course again. Is the timing company and crew available? Are the key volunteer groups available?
“We are in the process of researching dates, but we have to take a shotgun approach with about ten different entities,” he said. “By shotgun I mean, you can’t check with the town council and get approval from them and then go to the school and get approval from them. Go back to the timing and scoring company – you have to do it all at once.”
Because of the nature of the event it would have to be a week day evening Brannen pointed out. With each passing day a bit of daylight is lost. Ambient lighting on the course for the slower runners who might take an hour to finish the course has to be considered.
With all of these factors to consider Brannen was emphatic that they intend to reschedule the event in some form.
“We are reaching out to all the appropriate parties,” he said. “But we haven’t pinned anything down yet.”
The Verizon race website is sure to post more information when it is available and notify team captains of any decisions that are made.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com.