TIME Pennsylvania

Marathon Runners Stopped by Train in the Middle of Race: ‘It Is Just Totally Demoralizing’

The runners were trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon

A slow-moving train brought dozens of Boston Marathon hopefuls to a halt for several minutes during a run over the weekend, causing some to lose their chances of qualifying for next year’s big race in Massachusetts’ capital.

On Sunday, the athletes were running in Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Via Marathon in Pennsylvania, one of several races open to those who wish to be considered for the Boston Marathon, when the train interrupted them in the seventh mile, marathon organizers said.

“The incident is especially regrettable and was quite unexpected,” Via Vice President Gerry Yasso said in a statement.

Charlie Young, a 22-year-old runner, told Lehigh Valley Live that the crossing train delayed him and more than 100 other runners for about 10 minutes, causing him to miss his qualifying time by 8 minutes.

“You put in so much time, money and training and you put your body through a lot, especially with this summer we had, and to just watch it tick away,” Young said. “I don’t know how to explain, it is just totally demoralizing.”

Via said it received “absolute assurances” from the Norfolk Southern Railroad that trains would be suspended for three hours during the race Sunday morning. Runner times will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, Via said.


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