About 15,000 runners are slated to converge on the Oceanfront Sunday for the 16th annual Rock’n’Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon.
But they shouldn’t plan to pose for finish-line selfies just yet. Tropical Storm Hermine, with its predicted high winds, rain and flooding, forced race organizers on Friday to cancel Saturday’s one-mile sand race. For now, arrangements are still going forward for Sunday’s half marathon and 5K.
“Everything for Sunday is still currently scheduled to happen as planned,” Dan Cruz, a spokesperson for the event, said in a phone interview. “That’s the latest update.”
More than 15,000 runners from all 50 states and five countries registered to participate, Cruz said. Most have been understanding about the situation, he added. But with runners arriving in the city on the heels of a state-of-emergency declaration by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday, it’s not an aniexty-free bunch.
“Everyone’s a little bit on edge in terms of Sunday’s race and that happening,” Cruz said.
Some of that comes through in the bulletins posted on the event’s website.
“All are advised to limit travel on Saturday as the extreme weather arrives, and evacuate if recommended by officials,” one says.
Still, organizers are scrambling to adapt.
Race planners are receiving regular updates from the National Weather Service and hoping for the best, Cruz said.
They have added a bib pickup at the start for runners whose travel has been delayed by the storm, according to Cruz. Bibs will be available on Sunday beginning at 4:30 a.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., according to the event’s website. Runners will need their signed confirmation sheets and a photo ID.
Runners who can’t travel to the half marathon because of the storm can transfer their registration to another race or apply for a refund of the registration fee, the website says. People who registered for Saturday’s canceled race will receive an automatic refund.
The 5K and half marathon are scheduled to begin at the Convention Center at 7 a.m.
Until then, participants should keep checking Facebook for updates. Runners can also get SMS updates by sending the message “VBWEATHER” to 85007, using a mobile phone.
“It’s going to be touch and go here until that last runner crosses the finish line,” Cruz said.