Some things are part of normal life for a converged communicator. Some things aren’t. Receiving a “Black Event Alert,” which calls for immediate evacuation, falls into the second category.
That’s what happened yesterday at the 26.2 with Donna marathon, which runs from Ponte Vedra Beach to the Mayo Clinic and raises funds for breast cancer research. It’s a boisterous celebration as well as a serious race, with two athletes from Ethiopia winning the men’s and women’s marathons. But it’s noted mostly as an opportunity for runners to come out and show their support for loved ones who have battled the disease.
Until, that is, just before noon, when the skies opened. Thunder rolled in about half an hour later, and it was clear that the weather was not going to be nice. The race authorities issued increasingly ominous warnings along the course, and then, at 1:00, the word came that we were under Black Event Alert. Meaning: Evacuate the stands, the media tent, the course – everything. The organizers had to send school buses under police escort to round up the several hundred runners who had not yet completed the race – hardly the way they expected the race to finish.
Here’s the link to the story in the Florida Times-Union (http://members.jacksonville.com/sports/local-sports/local-running/2014-02-23/story/lightning-stops-262-donna-about-300-runners). The good news, though, is that thanks to quick action, everyone escaped from the storm and the flooded course without further incident.