Well, this year was tough and hot. Especially since I ran the 4th leg on the Naval Air Station and my 5th leg runner was not at the exchange point. Eek. But then, we got to enjoy the beach - here's before the race
Beach to Bay Relay Marathon: More feet, more street, more heat
CORPUS CHRISTI — Among the multitude gathered at the 36th Beach to Bay Relay Marathon finish, many runners talked about heat and suffering.
"I was dying," said Garrett Gregory, 29, of Lubbock. "This town is hot."
It was 79 degrees for the 7 a.m. race, which because of flooded beaches started on Park Road 22 on Padre Island. The 90 percent humidity made it feel like 83 degrees.
"I was hurting bad," Gregory's teammate, Thomas Adams, 22, agreed.
Runners dropped every few minutes from dehydration and heat exhaustion beginning about 7:45 a.m., with half a dozen down at the same time on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, medical staff confirmed. One runner collapsed at the finish line about 11:15 a.m. and was carried by fellow runners and medical workers to an ambulance.
By noon the downtown temperature was 84, with humidity of 61 percent making it feel like 90.
In all, seven people were taken to the hospital.
Corpus Christi Fleet Feet Elite won for the second time in three years with a finish time about 9 minutes faster than last year at 2 hours, 17 minutes and 34 seconds.
There were 2,575 teams this year. That's 219 more teams than last year for an additional 1,314 runners.
That's a lot of feet as one volunteer learned on Saturday. Eric Willingham, 14, a student at John Paul II High School, sat watch over a killdeer's nest for more than two hours to keep it from being trampled near the foot of JFK Bridge.
Organizers of the 36th Beach to Bay Relay Marathon estimate that with runners, their family members, volunteers, sponsors and visitors from McGee Beach as many as 25,000 people packed McCaughan Park for the event's after party.
The only glitch in the new location was organizers finding they only had about 10 amps of electricity at McCaughan Park.
"That's about enough for a vacuum cleaner and microwave without blowing a fuse," said race director Doug McBee Jr. "We brought in a big diesel generator at the last minute."
He expects the new finish location to be permanent.
"We're not going back to Cole Park. It's better finishing along the seawall, but we will go back to the beach to start. Mother Nature just bit us this year."