Inclement weather postpones running of the bulls
Elite meet rescheduled for Oct. 11
By Kevin Spradlin
PARKTON, Md. – When Tristaterunnur.com creator and photographer Darrell Cavey pulled into the parking lot of Hereford High School early Saturday morning, there were only a few of the long, yellow school buses remaining.
Having been en route to the site of the annual Bull Run Invitational, Cavey hadn’t received the official word that the meet had been postponed due to inclement weather for the first time since 2003.
John Roemer IV, Hereford’s cross country coach meet director, has rescheduled all eight races for Saturday, Oct. 11. He said dangerous lightning, not the rain, was the primary reason for keeping more than 1,400 registered runners off the infamous three-mile course, which doubles as the site for the Maryland cross country championships.
Roemer and co-meet director Mike Kalisz made the official call to cancel shortly after 7 a.m., but the weather-watching and course monitoring started long before then. Roemer and Kaslisz had covered The Dip with tarps to protect it.
The initial ruling was to eliminate any junior varsity competition – they could use an alternate course designed when Hurricane Isabelle left the area without power for four days in 2003 – from wreacking havoc on The Dip and preserving the integrity of the infamous terrain feature for the elite races.
“By 6:45 a.m., the rain was just coming down in buckets,” Roemer said. “The lightning was almost ceaseless at that point … at least every 90 minutes. Mike said, ‘I think we gotta cancel.’ I was not as pessimistic initially.”
Roemer said updated weather forecasts showed that the track of the storm, which originally spared the Hereford area, was going “right up the bay to Hereford.”
“We were just out of luck,” Roemer said. “At 7, 7:10, we made the decision. It’s no more fun (canceling) the second time than it was the first time (in 2003). It’s a sad thing to me, to put weeks of effort (into the makings of the meet) …”
Roemer said many of the D.C. area teams, as well as others in Frederick County, expressed their amazement at the race being canceled. Those areas had, to a large extent, been spared by much of the more dangerous weather.
“They didn’t understand why we were canceling,” Roemer said.
Kalisz began looking at the calendar for a make-up date. The sooner a new date was announced, the more likely a quality field could be put together. He ruled out Oct. 4 – when junior student-athletes in the region will be taking their SATs – and settled on Oct. 11. But that date didn’t come without hesitation. It’s the same day as no less than seven meets in the area, including the Bobcat Invitational in Bel Air and the Don Stone Invitational in Smithsburg.
In 2003, the new date resulted in a drop to about 90 teams from the 120 which had registered for the original date. Roemer said he’s hopeful a similar field can be established for Oct. 11. With the cooperation of other meet directors – it’s possible some meets could be rescheduled to midweek, for example – teams all over the region could still take their turn on The Dip prior to the state championship. It’s also possible other teams unable to make the Sept. 27 date could travel to Parkton on Oct. 11.
Roemer said the school would refund team entries to any school unable to make it to the Oct. 11 date.
Father and son are in it for the long run
From Meet Director John Roemer
Registration is open to new teams. After the hurricane postponement in 2003 we lost about 40 teams to other commitments, but picked up about 15 who were looking for an invitational 2 weeks later. We still had a 90-team event.