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FRESHJUNKIE Racing (FJR) and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon have implemented a color-coded Event Alert System (EAS) for our races that will communicate the status of course conditions on race day. The levels range from Low (green) to Moderate (yellow) to High (red) to Extreme (black) based on the weather and other course conditions. On race day, the current EAS status will be communicated via color-coded flags at the start and finish areas and along the course at each medical station. Decisions to delay, stop or cancel an event are NOT made on weather forecasts, which have been known to be wrong. Decisions are made on race day based on the actual weather experienced. Our goal is to hold a safe event and we wait as long as we can before making decisions that we cannot. Our decision criteria is outlined below. We will run in the rain as long as no lightning or thunder is present.
All participants should familiarize themselves with the EAS prior to the race, remain alert for directions from race officials, and take precautions to prepare properly for varying weather or course conditions on race day.
Participants will receive notifications before and during races using on-site announcements, social media, text and email notifications. Additionally, on-course notifications will occur at aid stations with the use of color-coded flags and announcements from race staff and law enforcement personnel. Utilization of transport vehicles and/or designated EAS physical locations along the course route may be activated for “HIGH” and “EXTREME” alert levels.
On-Course Medical Volunteers and additional runner support (fluids, etc.) will be directed to their designated physical locations to provide on-site care in the facility if the race is stopped. Additional support will be deployed using EMS and medical support from finish medical area as deemed appropriate.
This protocol is designed to provide information to participants, cities and towns along the course regarding FJR policies and procedures in the event of a weather hazard that includes severe weather conditions such as lightning and/or thunder. To determine the proximity of lightning, FJR utilizes the National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) flash-to-bang method in addition to weather monitoring services.
To use the flash-to-bang method, count the seconds from the time lightning is first sighted to when the clap of thunder is heard. Divide this number by five to obtain the distance in miles from where the lightning occurred. (Example: 30 second count between flash and hearing bang… storm is 6 miles away)
Lightning awareness increases with the first visual sighting of a flash or clap of thunder regardless of how far away the storm may seem. How fast the storm is moving, relative to the time it would take to find safe shelter for runners, staff, and spectators is considered. Participants and spectators should remember the existence of blue sky and the absence of rain are not protection from lightning.
As a standard, by the time FJR staff monitors a flash-to-bang count of 60 seconds, event activities will begin to be paused or cancelled and instructions to all individuals to leave the site and reach a safe location will be given. Resumption of activity will only be considered by waiting 30 minutes or longer after the last flash of lightning or sound of thunder is heard. Depending on the timing and available roadway access, the event may not resume and be cancelled. NOTE: refunds are not given in the event of cancellation due to weather, public emergency, or Acts of God.
FRESHJUNKIE Racing has an established protocol for notifying participants should weather conditions cause a delay or stoppage in the race:
Our top priority is runner safety and decisions are made with that in mind, but we will do everything we can to hold the event as scheduled. This means we DO NOT alter or cancel event plans based on weather forecasts before race day.