Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Little Story For You

I don't know how much press this got around the country, but we got some rain in Milwaukee on Thursday. Actually not some rain, but A LOT of rain. Some parts of Milwaukee got over 7 inches in just a few hours. There was major flooding in areas and rivers down streets no where near where rivers normally are. So how does this story relate to running? It relates because of Mike.

Mike is one of my running partners and is registered for this weekend's San Francisco Marathon. His flight for him and his family was scheduled to leave from Milwaukee Friday morning, plenty of time to get to San Fran in time to get to the Expo on Saturday and race on Sunday. But I said his flight "was" scheduled, past tense. It was cancelled due to the flooding in Milwaukee as the airport didn't open until around Noon Friday and his flight was early in the morning.

Apparently the airline industry does not care about the flights that are cancelled but tries to still get the later flights still to leave on time. During this time of unknown departure, Mike didn't know if he would be able to get to San Fran in time for the Expo and the race. You may be thinking that the Expo really isn't all that important and the race is when he needed to be there. As I talked to him on Friday late morning, I said the same thing. Just call the San Francisco Marathon and see what they can do about picking up the race packet on Sunday before the race. So he called the number on the website only to get a message saying that the office was closed and no one would be back until August 2nd. WHAT!!!!!! Apparently there is no person to talk to in cases of emergency, or perhaps we should call it extraordinary circumstances.

I have never run the San Francisco Marathon but I already don't like it. Now it is not the San Francisco Marathon's fault Mike can't get there on time. But a race that size and knowing people travel from around the country to attend should have a person available for these exact reasons. And if they don't, I don't like them.

So here is the rest of Mike's story (to date). Friday night, Mike and family flew to Kansas City and had a 6 hour lay over that was over night in which the airport said they could not stay there so they proceeded to get a cheap hotel for 4 hours. Since he needed to still get to the Expo to pick up his packet, he decided to buy a 1 way ticket from Kansas City to San Fran via Phoenix (his current flight was to get to San Fran at 8PM Saturday, after the Expo closed). That flight was delayed due to mechanical problems so he ended up flying with his family to Denver on the way to San Fran. Denver was again a long lay over before the flight to San Fran so Mike again bought another one way ticket on a different airline to San Fran and this time got to San Fran on time.

I talked to him about 5PM today (3PM San Fran time) and he was just leaving the Expo to go to his hotel to get a little rest before he had to go to the airport to pick up his family. A little luck was on their side as his wife was able to get a complete refund on his one way ticket from Kansas City to San Fran but he still had to pay $271 for his one way ticket from Denver.

This is not the end of the story but it is a true life story that is still being played out. Sounds like Mike will be at the start line at 5:30AM tomorrow so I again wish him good luck, I think he needs it more than ever.

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