Around 6,000 people ran Oct. 24 in the Good Life Halfsy, an annual half marathon in Lincoln. However, this year the event was cut short when a thunderstorm with severe lightning and heavy rain forced the event committee to call off the race midway through.
Although the race was officially canceled, many runners chose to continue to finish the race. Lauren Havlat of Lincoln finished the race after the event was officially called off.
“Police were on their intercoms telling us that the race was canceled and we needed to disperse but that didn’t slow anyone down,” she said. “Most everyone around me seemed determined to cross that finish line.”
Havlat ran in three other half marathons last year. She said she did not want to give up on all the training she completed just to stop running because of the rain.
“When it started to rain I just thought about when else would I be able to say I got to run 13.1 miles in the rain. It just added to the experience,” Havlat said.
Peyton Taylor of Raymond was 5 miles in when she was told that the race was canceled, but she was committed to finishing.
“I had ankle surgery a couple years ago and could not run the Good Life Halfsy, so I was determined that now that I was able to, I was going to finish the whole race again,” Taylor said.
Despite the weather, spectators wore jackets and held umbrellas to cheer on the runners all throughout the course. The spectators created an exciting and enthusiastic atmosphere for the runners.
“My favorite part about the Good Life Halfsy is the community members that line the course and cheer you on the entire way,” Taylor said. “It really motivates you to keep going and makes you smile the whole time knowing that strangers in your community are still cheering for you and want to see you succeed.”
Havlat’s family and boyfriend were cheering her on throughout the course as well.
“It was crazy how many spectators stuck it out. Those 13.1 miles seem so much shorter when there are people there cheering you on,” Havlat said.
For runner Heidi Bock of Lincoln the experience looked a little different. Bock was in the front of the pack where most of the faster and experienced runners were. At mile 8, she was told by a volunteer that the race was canceled and was instructed to board one of the two school buses provided. However, the runners she was with decided to keep running since they were close to the finish.
“The camaraderie that was formed between runners that continued on together. We really bonded for those last miles because the situation was terrible and we were in it together,” she said. “Runners always encourage each other on the course, but in those conditions that encouragement tripled.”
Although the rain cut many people’s runs short, Halvat, Bock and Taylor all said they look forward to next year’s Good Life Halfsy.
“This was my first time running Good Life Halfsy and the course really was as fast and fun as I’d been told. I can’t wait to really soak it all in next year, in sunshine that is, not rain,” Bock said.