BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Running conditions were not ideal for the Margaritaville 5k race, the first racing event of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, but the thrill of the challenge, tackling the interference head, on helped to push the runners through the wet obstacles.
“Oh, it was a little challenging because I didn’t want to fall in the puddles,” said Mim Kiesewetter, a runner from Louisiana.
Marathon officials said they were anticipating the rain and so were the runners. Many had their rain gear or improvised with garbage bags. The only thing that could really stop the show would’ve been severe weather.
“The only thing that we would have to cancel or delay is if there is electricity in the air. Just a little wet weather,” said Craig Sweeney, co-founder of the marathon.
Out on the course was two-time Olympian and Boston marathon champion Des Linden. In April, she won the Boston Marathon, becoming the first American woman to do so in 33 years. She did it in the freezing rain. The running joke of the day was that she brought today’s storm with her.
“Yeah I don’t know why that is," Linden said. "I would like to dig into that and put an end to it. It’s tough weather, but you know obviously the energy and the enthusiasm of runners is always fun to be a part of.”
When the runners crossed the finish line, cold and wet, they hurried over to the back of the Point Cadet Pavilion for a nice hot bowl of shrimp and okra gumbo to help them warm up.
Kathy Ruthroff, a runner from Hot Springs, Arkansas, said she never had gumbo before this morning.
“I’m going to get back in line for seconds," Ruthroff said.
To some runners, this 5k was a warm up for either the half marathon or the full marathon Sunday. About 910 adults competed in the 5k, compared to the more than 1,300 who are expected to run in the half and full marathons.