The second day of the Expo for me tends to be a long one. While we are only open a day later compared to the first day of the Expo the vast majority of our runners (especially the out of towners) come on this day At 6:00 a.m. I arrived at MVCC and headed to the Jorgenson Center. The temperatures had cooled from the firecracker heat we had experienced the previous day. The weather forecast predicted partly cloudy skies with a chance of thunder storms later in the afternoon. The Expo officially closes at 4:30 p.m. so it looks like we would escape the heavy weather.
The big activities of the morning were the Kid’s Run commencing at 8:15, followed by the 3 Mile Walk stepping off at 10:30 a.m.. These two events were the ones I was most concerned about. The move from Masonic meant having to lay out new courses; the Kid’s Run was the most changes in having four separate routes for the various age groups.
The Utica National people were setting up the finish line area- long stretches of snow fence outlined the various courses. The 1,600 + kids and their parents slowly milled into the college quad area as Phil Stewart (the voice of the Boilermaker) announced via speaker.
After reuniting a three year old (not a participant) who misplaced their parent the runs were on!
Overall the run, we intentionally don’t call it a race to cut down on the pushing, went pretty well. While access to the reunion area was not as open as we had at Masonic, in the end the right parents got the right kids returned to them.
At 10:00 the big issue of the day surfaced- my old ‘friend’ thunder and lightning. The Director of Security showed me his iphone displaying a large blotch of red located between Syracuse and Utica.
So what are you going to do?
Here’s what I knew:
I knew the walk course would, at its farthest point, would bring people a fair piece away from the confines of the college.
I knew that the participants were a hodge-podge of speedsters, average walkers, baby strollers and perhaps a few wheelchairs.
I knew that if we were going to postpone or cancel the walk it had to be done right now. I had no idea how long we might see bad weather and adding nearly 550 more people standing around in the Expo buildings didn’t seem a wish choice.
Knowing the unhappiness I was going to get from the walkers and the nightmare I was going to have to deal with from a logistical perspective (refunding of money, food for the walkers, finishers pins, etc.) I called the event. Here’s what I didn’t know- I didn’t know that the storm I had seen on the phone screen would end up taking quick turn north eventually dissipating.
The good news was the food we planned for the lunch went to Hope House. We have (this week) emailed/ mailed to every walker the opportunity to donate this registration fee to the Neighborhood Center (our charity of choice for this event) or get a refund.
The shows by both illusionist Leon Etienne and mentalist Robert Channing in the MVCC Theater were fantastic. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was inspirational.
The crowds at the Expo we large but never overwhelming for registration, lines were never too long at tables in the field house.
At the end of the Expo the last straggles were running in to get their running bibs-it was time to go home and prepare for the big day.