High Cloud Blog

High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon!

High Clouders - Monday, February 08, 2010

The High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon

“You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know the rest of your life.” – John Collins (Founder of The Ironman) -- Never Quit

The day began with snowflakes falling and temperatures plummeting rapidly and our thoughts were filled with last minute logistical details as we drove up to the High Cloud Snapple start/finish location. The parking lot was full of hundreds of passionate athletes who had challenged the elements and themselves to attend the Inaugural High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon!  A dream that was conjured up between Adriana and Matt Anderson and Bart Forsyth over a dinner of pita bread and hummus at Bus Boys and Poets Restaurant only a month and a half earlier was now a reality.  Hundreds had joined together on one snowy morning and were going to run for something greater than anything they have ever done before – to help children the world over who had suffered immensely from the recent tragedy in Haiti, the intense drought of Kenya, as well as violence and poverty-stricken communities everywhere.  

To quote from an athlete after she had finished the High Cloud Snapple, ¨I LOVED the High Cloud Snapple Half.  I LOVE running in the cold and snow; in fact, I didn't think it was that cold...  I'll take it any day over running in July and August.  I didn't run my best time, but I wasn't running for time.  I was just trying to get in miles for my marathon training; and I got a medal and shirt out of the deal!...¨

The High Cloud Snapple Half was expertly staffed by an army of Cloud Catchers (volunteers) that were full of smiles and enthusiasm despite the freezing conditions!  We provided pop-up tents, blankets and hot drinks before and after the race as well as mountains of: Snapple, bagels, pizza, yogurt, candy, pretzels, chips, oranges and tons more goodies.  High Cloud Snapple also had a robust Medical Team led by Ironman Mark Zaragoza and his highly skilled Navy Medical Corpsmen and his quick response medical vehicle.  To add to the mix, we had a renowned Club DJ mixing music for the athletes throughout the race including a very solemn Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of the race. 

As Race Director Jay Wind started the race, the snowflakes started to fall even harder and it became noticeably colder but the athletes were oblivious as they were motivated to take on whatever Mother Nature would throw at them for the next 13.1 miles on the beautiful C&O Canal.  When the last athlete crossed the start line, the Cloud Catchers sprang into action reconfiguring the Start / Finish line tents to facilitate the removal of race chips and bibs, as well preparing tons of food and water for the runners return. 

Snow was falling so much at this time that our footsteps were immediately being filled with fresh snow and everyone was moving just for the sake of keeping warm.  Only 1 hour 15 minutes into the High Cloud Snapple Half, we heard shouts of encouragement from the finish line as we saw in the distance the first athlete as he sprinted the last few hundred meters to the finish line and accepted his finisher medal from Cloud Catcher, Bethany!  While he was drinking water afterwards walking off the run and telling us about the race, he still had blocks of ice in his eyelashes from the intense cold.  Runners continued to stream into the finisher chute full of excitement about the race and the extreme winter storm that they experienced for the next two hours, all the while being greeted by cheering (and frozen solid) Cloud Catchers!

On the same day of the High Cloud Snapple Half, High Cloud hosted a simultaneous 2K race for children and orphans in Colombia, South America representing the intrinsic relationship between the High Cloud Snapple runners and the children being supported by the race.  The runners of the Inaugural High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon, through their struggle against the winter storm, served as an inspiration and role models to children who live in extreme poverty to also challenge themselves to never quit in the face of hardships. The Inaugural High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon was a day that will live on in people’s memories forever...It was a day where they braved the snow and found a spark within themselves that refused to give in, to concede, to quit.  Everyone who stepped foot on the High Cloud Snapple course on January 30th 2010 understood in the core of their spirits what it meant to truly challenge themselves against intense hardships and to find success. 

Quotes from High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon athletes:

I LOVED the High Cloud Snapple Half.  I LOVE running in the cold and snow; in fact, I didn't think it was that cold I'll take it any day over running in July and August.  I didn't run my best time, but I wasn't running for time.  I was just trying to get in miles for my marathon training; and I got a medal and shirt out of the deal! 

Thank you so much and the wonderful volunteers for a truly challenging and rewarding morning.   The weather couldn't bring us down!  Thank you for the really great organization, the delicious food and the good people.  I will run this again next year, because I'm thinking, the weather can only get better! 

This was my first race of any sort since high school track/cross country (I'm 52 now).  I've been active in running much shorter distances for my years since H.S.  Yesterday's event was to me very well organized, staffed and administered.  Thank you very much for this experience.  I finished the race without walking and in the time I expected, even with the "extreme" conditions.  I had a great experience.  Keep it up!

Thanks for a wonderful run this morning. The event was well organized and in a beautiful location. I have never run at the C&O canal before, but I hope to go back again!  I won for my age group (50-59 Female)...I just really had fun running.

Please see the High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon page for more pictures and a wonderful video collage from this great event!  http://www.highcloud.org/cloudsnapple

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