It was punishment of a different kind for participants of Gardner’s annual Prairie Punisher Duathlon and 5K races. Organizers had to cancel the race due to inclement weather on July 20.
The race will not be rescheduled.
“The next one will be 2014,” Matt McClure, Gardner Parks and Recreation Superintendent, said.
Participants arrived for the race at 7 a.m. on Saturday, but rain and lightning forced organizers to delay the event. After two delays, it was canceled at around 8 a.m.
McClure said a few things contributed to the decision to cancel. First, of course, was the weather. Rain, lightning and lightning warnings persisted throughout the morning.
Gardner officials worked with a source from the National Weather Service, who informed them that lightning warnings would be in effect until later in the day.
Once the rain ceased, the roads would still need to dry out.
Meanwhile, McClure said, many of the more than 60 volunteers were not going to be able to stay all day.
“At an event like a duathlon, if you don’t have volunteers to run it, it becomes a safety concern,” McClure said. “It’s no one’s fault. You just can’t expect to keep volunteers all day for an event that was supposed to be over by 10:30.”
Participants will be out their entry fees, McClure said. Fees ranged from $45 to $65 for duathlon runners, and $15 to $25 for 5K participants.
The city doesn’t offer a refund, because a majority stuff for the event — like t-shirts, food and trophies — is purchased in advance of the race.
McClure said refunds are typically not offered for such events, and that fact was well-advertised.
“A lot of people understand that going in,” McClure said.
Participants did receive race t-shirts on Saturday. Approximately 140 people were registered for the event.