The weather for the Annapolis Ten Miler is always atrocious.
It is hot, humid and best described as just plain miserable.
But runners expect that and they register months in advance any way. Because of its popularity, the race has reached the same status as many of the bigger marathons the world over, closing registration within hours of opening.
So, on Wednesday afternoon, when registrants received notice the race would go on, rain or shine, there was less a sign of relief and more a shrug of, “well, of course.”
It wasn’t until Thursday when Annapolis City Emergency Management canceled the race for the first time in its 36-year history that there was any shock.
Within minutes of the announcement messages were flying across Twitter, Facebook and the Daily Mile. Though the initial reaction was shock and dismay, runners quickly came to the conclusion that it was the right decision and just as quickly moved on to planning a 10-mile run for Saturday, before the storm rolled into town.
“We were very disappointed to have to cancel the race," said Co-Race Director Will Meyers. "The committee started meeting officially back in March planning all of the details, but Charlie Muskin [the other Co-Race Director] run together several times a week and the race is always the topic of conversation.”
Muskin and Meyers were among a handful of committee members who met on Saturday morning to run the course before the storm came in. But they were not the only local runners with that idea.
Annapolis Trail Running Club member and local running coach Paula Carrigan, was so disappointed that the race had been canceled that she quickly organized the First Annual Annapolis 10-Miler Memorial Race.
Even with the short notice, Carrigan was able to gather close to 30 people for the mock race. And even managed a video to commemorate the memorial.
But the organized runs on Saturday morning were only the tip of the iceberg. The B&A Trail and local roads were packed with runners trying to get in their 10 miles before Irene pounded the area.
Sunday morning found another, smaller contingent of runners, including several members of the Annapolis Triathlon Club lining up outside the Navy Stadium to run the course, as well.
Though Irene was much less severe than forecasters had expected, the city made the right call in canceling the race. With electricity out across the county and at least one part of the race course blocked by a large tree, the race could not have gone on.
Still, Meyers, Muskin and the entire committee were disappointed to be the first race directors in the race’s history to face cancelation and though the race did not go on, there is still weeks worth of work ahead of the crew, including getting the much coveted A-10 premiums out to all recipients and funding the charitable donations.
“We are also confident that the donations we have promised to local charities will be made,” Meyers said. “They will have to be patient as we work out the budget with the cost of the cancellation, but we are definitely planning on honoring those promises.”
Almost 15 years ago, the Annapolis Ten Miler was featured in Runner’s World Magazine as one of the top ten 10-milers in the country. For anyone who has ever run it, there is no question as to why.
With a committee filled with volunteers who dedicate months of their lives to the race, with a course that covers some of the most beautiful areas in the city, and a city full of runners that get behind the race in every imaginable way, the A-10 is a race that is hard to match.