If you pencilled in the Wild Half on your 2013 race calendar, get out your eraser. This Wildwood half marathon has decided to skip over 2013, and become a May race in 2014.
Organizers announced the change this month, and outrage followed. I can see why – Wildwood fans like running in “their” shore town, and planned a late summer weekend around it. But the logistics of holding a race in August proved to be too much, said Meredith Fiorucci, director of groups sales and marketing at Morey’s Piers, which sponsors the race.
“We took some time to evaluate everything, and between the heat in August and the potential for severe weather, we think we need to move the race to a time that’s going to be a more favorable time to the running community,” she said.
The inaugural race was scheduled for August 2011, but Hurricane Irene swept through, and mandatory evacuations meant organizers were forced to cancel. The night before the 2012 race, a thunderstorm parked itself on top of the Wildwoods, wrecking race tents and submerging one of the timing mats in a giant puddle that runners were either forced to run around or through (the former added seconds to your time; the latter left you with blisters). Plus, hot and humid weather on race day was great for the beach, but not for running.
I ran the 2012 race, and wrote this then: “I’ve run about a half dozen half marathons, and yesterday was the slowest I’ve ever run the distance when not pacing another runner. There’s not much the race organizers could do about that. If you sign up for an August race, you know you’re taking the risk that it’ll feel like summer that day.”
The organizers have taken the August out of the equation, which I think is a very smart move, and doing this now after it’s only been run once is better than yanking it into spring after runners get used to it being a late summer option.
The 2014 race will be the on May 18, the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, which organizers chose both because they won’t be competing with another big Wildwood event, and because almost everything in the Wildwoods will be open. So you can ride the rides, go to your favorite pizza spot, and stroll down the boardwalk with an almost summer-like feel.
Why no 2013 race? In a word, time. To move the race, organizers had to get a consensus from officials from three different towns, and by the time they ironed out those details, Moreys and CGI didn’t feel they had enough time to get ready for the race, said Fiorucci, so they defaulted to 2014.
“We want the race to be here for the next 20 years, and then some,” said Fiorucci, and rushing to squeeze in a 2013 race didn’t fit with that goal.