MINNEAPOLIS — The Twin Cities Marathon was canceled just hours before it was supposed to begin Sunday due to concerns about record-breaking heat, only the second time organizers called it off in its 40-year history.
Twin Cities In Motion sent emails out to 20,0000 runners around 5:20 a.m. the morning of the race, notifying them that the forecast had reached "Black Flag" conditions that did not allow for a safe event for runners, supporters, or volunteers.
Forecasts showed temperatures hittingwith unusually high humidity for this time of year. The 10-mile race was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. and the marathon would have kicked off at 8 a.m.
"It saddens Twin Cities In Motion and our partners to be unable to hold the races that runners have been pointing toward for months, but the safety of participants and the community will always be our primary concern," the organization said in a statement.
The only other time the marathon didn't happen was in 2020 in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2007, the event happened during a record high for the race of 82 degrees.
WCCO spoke to several runners who learned of the cancellation when they were on their way or didn't know of the development until they arrived.
"It's a disappointment, especially when you train five months for something," said Kyla Kristil, a Minnetonka native who now lives in Miami. "We're going to try to see if there's a different one we could sign up for."
Kristil and her friend Shoshi Leviton both decided to run at least part of their original marathon route anyways. Other runners also decided to make the most of it and run before it became too hot.
Matt Anderson of Hopkins also didn't let the cancellation stop him. He gathered his running group and some people in the neighborhood for a 10-miler.
"It was disappointing since I ran yesterday—it didn't seem too bad yesterday. I thought we should've been able to go today," he said in an interview with WCCO. "I understand safety reasons – they've got to make the right decision—but for me I want to keep running today anyway."
The decision came as the forecast in Twin Cities neared record-breaking heat Sunday. The previous record for Oct. 1 was 87 degrees in 1897 and normal temperatures are in the mid-60s.
Fall is the second fastest warming season in Minnesota as the state deals with the impact of climate change. There are now 20 more above-average fall days in the Twin Cities, according to WCCO's NEXT Weather team.
"I think there are people going through stages of grief, as it were, for the goals they had and the excitement they had for running a marathon and we feel that for them," said Charlie Mahler, a spokesperson for Twin Cities in Motion, during a CNN interview. "We're saddened to have to make this decision, but we knew it was the right one."
For those who decided to run despite the weather and cancelation, many Minnesotans still cheered them on along the way and some set up their own water stations to help runners battle the heat.
Ali Binder, who still ran a half marathon Sunday when she was supposed to run a full 26.2-mile race, said that support was super encouraging and made it fun.
But it was very hot and those conditions didn't make it easy. She said she understands why Twin Cities In Motion decided to cancel.
"It would've been dreadful if I had to make it to 1 o'clock," she said of her expected end time for a full marathon. "At first I was really disappointed with the call, but now that I'm like sitting in it after doing a half and not doing a full, I'm glad they made the call that they did."
Twin Cities In Motion said runners should expect an update soon about a credit for the cancelled event by Thursday at the end of the day.
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