Monday, May 18, 2015


Winter's icy grip continued to clutch the eastern seaboard into the green month of May. Chilling temperatures, hovering in the low 50s, when the average temperature should hit 70, continued through last week.

Sunday, however, was a great day to go to the beach. Tropical conditions prevailed, with high humidity and temperatures finally reaching the 80s.

A great day to watch a marathon is a bad day to run a marathon.

Two dedicated runners, both of whom I have great admiration and am proud to call my friends, dedicated  the last three months or so to training for yesterday's Run for the Red Marathon, held in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. They had largely good weather for marathon training, with a few warm days sprinkled in. They could hardly be acclimatized for weather more suited to tanning than to running a marathon.

Samantha Snukis, a former high school state champion in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, and Father Chris Zelonis, a novice runner, who has quickly excelled in the sport and has qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon, had turned in some of their best training for the race, but yesterday they knew that the 26.2 mile road to the finish was going to be a torrid trek.

Few things are more difficult than running a marathon under hot conditions. Heat produces devastating effects as body core temperatures can rise to near-death levels. World-class runner, Alberto Salazar's body temperature reached 105 degrees at the end of the hot 1982 Boston Marathon. He was immediately plunged into an ice bath to bring his temperature down.

It is very easy to mentally shut down during a hot marathon race. The mind literally asks, "What's the point of this?"

Amid the heat and humidity of yesterday's race, Snukis and Zelonis, who happen to hail from the same small town of Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, (Is there something in the water, or is it the Yuengling beer?) emerged as champions.

Samantha Snukis earned $500 by placing third in the women's division, smashing her personal best marathon time by clocking a 2:55:18.

Father Chris lopped a full five minutes off his best marathon time by hitting the finish line in 3:03:12, placing 4th in his age division.
The intense heat drove him to the medical tent where he received an IV cocktail, but he quickly recovered.

Sometimes runners make excuses when weather conditions are poor.

Often, competitors pack it in, drop out and run another day.

These two gritty competitors faced the heat and conquered.

They earned complete admiration and praise.

I think it's time for them to go to the beach.