MONTEREI – The smash of wildfire forests in California forced the race officials to cancel the Monterey Bai Monterey on Sunday. However, participants in the race were able to pick up their shirts on the start line, and medals were assigned close to the target line at Custom House Plaza. Some even ran, unofficial.
"We did not know what to expect," said the director of the Monterey Bai Doug Thurston half-marathon. "I think people take it in a good spirit and treat it as some kind of fun with everything but a race."
Thurston said that the race will be included in the participants from 49 countries and 18 different countries. Many of them remained at a party that included a table with a food and a beer truck.
Monterey Bai Monterey Buryers decided to lift the weekly race for speeding air quality in the Monterey Bay on Saturday night.
"Looking at the weather trends on Saturday afternoon, we saw the forecast and saw that air quality was predicted to be unhealthy for very unhealthy," Thurston said. "And because of the safety of participants and volunteers and viewers, we felt that this was the only thing we could in these circumstances."
According to the Big Sur Marathon Foundation, air quality was considered "moderate" on Saturday and safe for outdoor activities for racing 3K and 5K. However, the wind moved dramatically, blowing smoke from the northeast directly to the Monterey Peninsula.
The Big Sur Marathon Foundation issued a press release stating: "After consulting our medical director and the National Weather Service, we found that it is not safe for runners, volunteers, staff, and race personnel to participate in tomorrow's scheduled events. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment that comes with the cancellation of the race, but we think that at the moment it is the appropriate course of action. "
Thurston said that the race will not be reprogrammed and as a non-profit organization they continue to analyze financial issues, but they want to do what is appropriate for the participants.
"We are considering which options can be for future consideration of the event," Thurston said.
Johnny Cho Monterey said he was squeezed when he heard the news, especially since his first half-marathon would be. But the 26-year-old managed to expose her in perspective, considering what happened to many people who lost their homes, and some of their lives, in a fire in Raj. He was supposed to race on his first marathon, but he said that it was still a good first experience.
"I'm grateful that I have a house to come every night because there are a lot of people who have lost a lot," said Cho.
Cho said he agreed to end the race, especially at the risk of thousands of people.
"You do not want people to hurt by doing this," said Cho.
Elizabeth Baiardi of Phoenix ended the race alone, along with hundreds of other people who appeared to run. The twenty-two year old said she had passed through the city yesterday, smoke was in the air, but it was not bad.
Bayard flew out of Phoenix to run in her first half and was upset to hear the news, but her friends, who came to the road, pushed him to run.
"I thought I came here and dressed. I did not miss the race," Baiardi said.
Baiardi said she understood why the round officials canceled the event, but she felt good after she had crossed the target. She said that her only task was to have no water stations.
"I think that many people were running without water, but luckily I brought my own," Baiardi said, pointing to a water bottle. "I think it would be the biggest thing for people, not hydrogen."
Elizabeth Tudhope of San Diego was disappointed, but it is also grateful that race officials look at the health of people.
"I think they had a good call if the quality of the air is not good enough, and I think it's great, because this morning they are putting up a party and everyone is doing well," Tudhope said.
Tudhope also mentioned that although the race was canceled, it could not be regretted, especially when people in the fire lose much more than they are unable to compete in the race. It was followed by 20 teammates from West Coast Runners and said she would try to make the best of her trip, including a great party at Custom House Plaza.
"I'm surprised that people are such good sports and just get out of the party," Tudhope said.
Juan Reies can be reached at (831) 726-4360