Last night I ran Cam’s Moonlight 5K in Exton, PA. With a 9PM start time, this was my first night race and, with a violent thunderstorm going on during the race, this was also my first race in torrential rain and lightning! It was a unique experience to say the least.
I arrived at the corporate center where the race was being held at around 8:30pm to pick up my bib. Although there were storms far to the southwest, the radar overhead was absolutely clear at this point. I could see some ominous storm clouds on the horizon and it was just starting to drizzle ever so lightly, but I figured this was a passing shower at worst and kept my iPhone and headphones with me as I lined up with the 500 or so runners and walkers for the start of the race.
The start was really disorganized. I didn’t see a start line and didn’t know which direction we would be running but realized that I was WAY in the back of the crowd when suddenly the pack started off at a jog ahead of me. After my crowded-start experience at the Media 5 Miler, I was frustrated at the prospect of starting from the extreme rear and I quickly began weaving my way through the slow moving crowd to get into a better position. After about 0.2 miles of dodging and weaving the crowd suddenly stopped (reminiscent of the doomed Color Out Cancer 5K race earlier this year!), and that’s when I realized that we had all been running TO GET TO the start line. Crazy!
By the time the race really started from the actual start line, the skies were dark and the rain was falling steadily. I was significantly closer to the front of the pack and after the real “GO” I set out on the course, happy to get a do-over on my start and ready to put down a good time in my first 5K road race since the Run for Victory. About a minute into the race the clouds opened up and the torrential rain began. Bolts of lightning lit up the pitch black sky and the edges of the smooth corporate center roads immediately turned into mini rivers of water rushing towards the nearest storm drain. It was raining so hard that my headphones stopped working (they got quieter and quieter before dying completely at around 1.5 miles in) and I was taking in so much rainwater with each breath that I found myself consciously working to spit water out of my mouth every time I exhaled. It was wild!!
If this race had been scheduled for 9:10PM instead of 9, I firmly believe that the race organizers would have cancelled it on the spot, but because the runners had just been released onto the course just as the storm hit it was too late to stop the race. Luckily, the course was VERY well marked with glow sticks and dozens of volunteers who braved the storm to hold their positions at the various intersections we crossed. (Thank you, volunteers!!) Despite the excellent course marking, I quickly discovered that the darkness, rain, and monotony of the corporate center’s identical roads made it extremely difficult to get a feel for where I was on course. When I hit the 1st mile split I tried to make a mental note of where I was, but by the second lap around the corporate center my headphones were dead and I had no idea if I was 1 mile or .25 miles from the finish.
After what felt like an eternity of slogging through puddles and spitting out rain water, the finish finally came into sight. I was thrilled to see that the race clock was still in the sub-25 range and I thankfully crossed the finish line at around the 24:46 mark. Woohoo!! A man at the finish line was yelling “RUNNERS, DO NOT STOP!! GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR CARS!!!!” so I got my bearings and marched right to my car, where I promptly soaked the driver’s seat and took this photo. What a race!
Matt had driven separately from a lacrosse game to watch the race (he ended up staying in the car!) and he followed me home along Route 30 as the torrential rain continued. It was raining so hard I could barely see the road and at one point I drove through what Matt said was about 8″ of rushing water. I could feel the current start to push the car to the left so I stepped on the gas… scary! (And yes, I know you should never drive across a flooded road, but it was raining so hard I couldn’t even see the river… whoops!) Long story short, we made it home safe and sound and I was very thankful for dry clothes and a warm bed.
This morning I found myself constantly refreshing the RunCCRS web site, eagerly waiting to see my final time and finish position. Sadly, I got an email after lunch saying that the extensive rains caused the chip timing system to malfunction and no results would be provided. Boo. 😦 At least I paid attention to the timing clock as I crossed the finish line so I know my approximately time AND, most importantly, I ran another sub-25 5K!!!! Forget the rain, lightning, no results, and everything else… I did it again! Yay!!! 🙂
Miles since last post: 93.5
Days since last post: 18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.81
2014 TOTAL MILES: 916.3
P.S. For anyone wondering what happened to the Swarthmore 5 Miler (7/3/14) and the Firecracker 5K (7/4/14) races that I was supposed to run over the holiday weekend… BOTH got postponed due to storms (that, by the way, were far less severe than last night’s!). I missed the make-up date for the Firecracker 5K but I’ll be running the Swat 5 Miler next Friday.
• Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
• Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
• Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
• Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
• Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
• St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
• Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
• Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
• Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
• Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
• Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
• Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
• New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
• Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
• Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
• Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
• Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
• Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
• Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)
16 thoughts on “Cam’s “Moonlight” 5K… in a Thunderstorm!!”
So glad you made it through the race… and the drive home… safely!
Thanks Pami! The drive home was scary – definitely wasn’t expecting a major roadway to be completely flooded when I drove through it! 🙂
That is an awesome time!! Congrats! We’ve been having some intense storms around here as well. I’m glad you made it through safely!
We probably get the same storms here that you get (just up the line of the storm front a little bit) and I agree they’ve been pretty crazy. It brought the intensity to a whole new level to be running in the middle of one though! 🙂
Great time! (especially with those conditions!) I ran a half marathon during a torrential downpour. It was awful! I cannot imagine running that in the dark! You still did awesome!
Ah, the Love Run, right? I ran a 5k that morning but luckily the rain held off almost completely during the race where I was in Chester County. I drove through some torrential rain on my way home though. I can’t imagine running in it for 13.1 miles… 3.1 was quite enough for me!
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