#15. That time my marathon got canceled

At the beginning of July, I signed up for the Oct. 30 Harvest Marathon in Paso Robles, California. With the promise of gorgeous scenery, celebratory wine, and gourmet post-race food, it seemed like the perfect way to ease myself back into endurance running and racing. 

I’ve been training consistently for the past two months, and I am proud to say that I am ON IT. I haven’t missed a workout – especially not the long runs – and I’ve been treating myself like an athlete: eating well, truly resting on my rest days, supplementing with yoga and pilates, and generally pumping myself up for the race. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good about training.

Then, this past weekend, I received an email from the Harvest Marathon race committee saying that they’re canceling the marathon due to “unforeseen issues with road closures and limited registration” and that they’ll be refunding the entrance fee this week. I felt simultaneously annoyed and disappointed: annoyed that the committee’s planning had apparently fallen short with respect to the course and that I’d already paid for an expensive hotel room (because all hotels in that area at that time of year are pricy), and disappointed that the event for which I’d been training so diligently wouldn’t be happening.

That said, I also felt relieved. When I originally signed up for the marathon, I’d assumed we would be well into Central California by the end of October. Our RVing pace is much slower than I’d anticipated, and had the marathon taken place, I would have had to drive for 4 or 5 hours from southeastern CA to Paso Robles. Moreover, I probably would have had to make the trip alone because Trent can’t afford to miss work.

I decided to stave off any further frustration by finding a different marathon, one that would be held at the end of October but closer to where we’ll be parked at that time.

A little research on Running in the USA led me to the Petrified Forest Marathon in Holbrook, AZ. Part of the 26.2 mile course is actually held within the gorgeous Petrified Forest National Park – a place I’ve visited several times and loved for the way its brilliant colors change depending on the time of day. I also like that it’s a point-to-point course (for me, that’s easier to cope with mentally than an out-and-back course) and that the participant field is small – around 150 runners. As a bonus, the elevation is similar to the one we’re currently at and drops by 400 feet between the start and end of the race.

So I’m signed up for the PFM, and I can’t wait. Although the Harvest Marathon would have been lovely, I think this is an even better choice – not only for the location, but for the fact that I’ll have an opportunity to run a marathon through a National Park during the NPS centennial year.

Now I just need to go back to my training plan and find a way to push everything back a week without overtaxing myself or losing out on valuable long runs.

Tell me: Have your race plans ever been derailed? How did you handle it?



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