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Holy Half Marathon cancelled due to weather

| Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Holy Half Marathon was cancelled Saturday morning due to icy route conditions, altering the plans of nearly 1,500 individuals who planned to run the race.

According to a statement from the race directors, safety concerns for the runners motivated their the decision to cancel the race.

Students and community members run through campus after the Holy Half Marathon was cancelled due to unforeseen icy conditions.Rachel O'Grady

Students and community members run through campus after the Holy Half Marathon was cancelled due to unforeseen icy conditions.

“Our decision to cancel the race was neither our first nor preferred choice, but as details of traffic conditions and the dangers it presented to runners were reported by various organizations in the minutes leading to the original start time, it became our only choice,” the statement said.

The statement said the directors will continue to communicate with the runners over the next several weeks regarding the next steps.

“As fellow runners, we recognize the true accomplishment of training for a half marathon during the winter months at Notre Dame. We are disappointed that the hard work of 1,500 runners, and in particular, of over 800 students, was not fully realized on Saturday,” the statement said.

The Holy Half, a charity event benefitting the South Bend community, consists of both a 13.1-mile race and a 10-kilometer race run by students and faculty of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross campuses, members of the South Bend community, alumni and fans from across the nation.

Runner Kristine Kelly said she was disappointed with the news of the cancellation. 

“It’s pretty unfortunate. I was kind of sad, but safety is most important, so I’m glad they had that into consideration,” she said. “ … It’s hard to plan for things like this, extreme weather conditions in April.”

Graduate student Emily Bacher was set to run the race with her dad and said she was upset by the cancellation.

“We ended up running our own 13.1 miles that afternoon around campus anyways, and it was great to accomplish that together, but it still wasn’t the same as getting to cross the finish line,” Bacher said.

Bacher said it was always a personal goal to run the half marathon, and she was excited to run it with her dad.

“I finally convinced my dad to run this one with me,” she said. “I paid for his registration as a Christmas present, and he flew all the way from South Carolina for the race. We had both trained really hard for the event and were really excited. When they broke the news about the race being cancelled, we were definitely disappointed.”

Each year, the Holy Half club organizes and oversees the races, one of the largest student-led events at Notre Dame. Junior Peter Rodgers, president of the club, said the planning structure of the event is divided into a number of different categories, including course design, food and entertainment, sponsorships and volunteer recruitment.

“We also do a lot of work with the University Council people, which is the [Notre Dame Security Police], [Notre Dame Fire Department], Student Activities Facilities, RecSports and medical to make sure that on race day, the runners are safe [and] the roads are clear for runners,” Rodgers said.

This year would have marked the 12th consecutive year of the half marathon.

“[The Holy Half] has grown a lot bigger and is more well known,” Rodgers said. “Right now everyone knows our logo in the South Bend area, and it’s a huge race. All other kinds of races in South Bend and a lot of student clubs kind of want to use the Holy Half as a vehicle to tell the other area runners about their own races and events, which is really cool, and we’re receptive to that.”

Moreover, the continued success of the half marathon has increased the amount of money raised by the event. Proceeds from this year will be donated to three local charities — Reins of Life, St. Vincent de Paul and Hannah’s House.

Rodgers said the student organizers were involved in planning aspects out of the race that have been handled by independent contractors in the past.

“For instance, for course design this year, we completely did that ourselves in terms of measuring the course and making it up to USA Track and Field Association standards,” he said.

The committee also planned to increase hall participation this year. Prize incentives would have been awarded to residence halls with the most volunteers at the newly-implemented water and cheering stations, Rodgers said.

Associate News Editor Rachel O’Grady contributed to this report.

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