"We may be seeing a rather ominous pattern shift developing by next weekend."
-- National Weather Service, Buffalo Office, March 25, 2016
On the first Sunday in April – the month whose showers traditionally bring May flowers – 3,700 runners took to the streets for the Syracuse Half Marathon.
"The first four miles weren’t bad," said ChaseDesign Senior Design Director Andy Schweitzer, who was running in his third Syracuse Half, “but then the sky got dark and the hail started.”
The stinging hail was followed by snow, gusting winds and near-whiteout conditions. On the city streets, the snow turned to slush, except where it was ice, and potholes turned into ponds.
“My shoes and socks were soaked; I couldn’t get traction, and I was dodging ice, puddles, and flying cups at the water stations.” All while squinting, because Andy’s eyebrows and eyelashes froze, adding a new layer of hurt.
10Red's Allison Abold and Michael Vine were also on the course and defying Mother Nature, but Mike was laboring under a different handicap: His phone surrendered to the elements at Mile 6, silencing his carefully selected program of motivational music. But everyone dug deep, persevered and collected their medals, just as the skies cleared and the sun came out.
Eyebrows still frozen, Andy sports his hard-won medallion.
Mike and Allison collect their medals. Allison notes, “The elements were the most challenging part, but added to the sense of accomplishment in completing the course!”
Michael Vine, post-thaw, who recalls, “It felt like I was running through cold, wet mashed potatoes for 2+ hours combined with being pelted by hail, blinded by the white out and running behind a jet engine on full throttle.”