I will not argue with the Twin Cities Marathon organizers' decision to cancel both the 10-mile and 26.2-mile races due to dangerously high heat and humidity ("Soaring mercury cancels a tradition," Oct. 2). However, as a fellow endurance athlete who has participated in my share of running races and lengthy organized bike rides, it was a beautiful and bittersweet sight to see runners all over the trails throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul while I was out on my bike on Sunday morning. Many were wearing their bibs. I cheered on as many as I could. I also noticed while returning from my ride along Minnehaha Parkway that a woman and her two small children were cheering on the runners and ringing a cow bell. A water stop was set up farther down the road by people from the neighborhood. My husband and his stepsister were out doing their replacement 10-mile run and reported that Summit Avenue had its share of spectators as well. I later learned that others were running their replacement runs on the Luce Line State Trail and at Elm Creek Park Reserve.
These folks all understood the risks involved, and from what I understood, no one was out there to get a personal best time or take an uncalculated risk. Many were wearing hydration packs. It was also early in the day, and the temperature was still quite cool and comfortable. The fact is, they had put in countless hours of hard work and training all summer long. Some of them had to rearrange their schedules and coordinate child care for this. Some missed out on social events with family and friends to put in a long training run — all leading up to that day. They needed to finish what they started and find a way to celebrate their accomplishment.
It is a testament to their indomitable sprits, as well as those of the spectators who set up water stops and cheering sections, that for the handful of folks who decided to hit the trails on Sunday morning to get a taste of that one-of-a-kind TC Marathon/10-mile experience, or simply have a consolation run with a friend or running group, they did what we Minnesotans do when faced with a challenge or disappointment. We stand closer together and find a way to overcome it.
Kara Greshwalk, Minneapolis
Two thoughts on the Twin Cities Marathon:
- The decision to cancel focused on the very small percentage of runners who would not manage the heat — the vast majority would have successfully regulated themselves. Is this a case of equity run amok — "If I can't run then no one can run"?
- The organizers should have at least maintained the water stations, for those plucky folks who would not be denied and ran their due event. Instead, the caring organizers stripped the field clean of a crucial safety need, washed their hands of the whole mess and wanted no further responsibility.
Judy Lai Palermo, Shoreview
Count me as one of the thousands disappointed at the cancellations of the TC Marathon and 10-mile. But I did join with hundreds of runners who wore our numbers and created our own runs. For me it was on the East River Road and West River Road, and there were cheering neighbors, shouts of encouragement and homemade water stops. The sprit of the races was resurrected and alive.
Thanks to all who worked so hard. Everyone is looking forward to 2024.
Jim Scheibel, St. Paul
Blame the man in charge
A recent letter writer, writing about the status of the Third Precinct building at Minnehaha Avenue and East Lake Street, stated that "we aren't policed adequately policed due, in part, to the City Council's lack of professional responsibility" ("Disembodied tail wagging the dog," Oct. 2). The writer seems to misunderstand the structure of government in Minneapolis, both before and after the charter amendment creating a strong mayor system. The mayor has, and has had, complete responsibility for the Police Department. The lack of policing, with which I agree, the lack of officers and the damning findings of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice on brutality and racism permeating the Minneapolis Police Department must be laid at the doorstep of Mayor Jacob Frey and his predecessors. One can't write a letter about the sorry state of law enforcement and safe communities in Minneapolis by trashing the City Council, as dysfunctional as it is, without saying a word about the person who's been in charge of the department during his entire time in office.
Louis Hoffman, Minneapolis
In a Sept. 29 letter to the editor, a retired police officer questions why anyone would want to work for the Minneapolis Police Department given the perceived lack of respect among the populace. What he fails to do is to ask why so many of us have a less-than-favorable view of the MPD.
I am a straight, white, male, highly educated professional. I, for one, cannot recall a single positive encounter I have had with the MPD. I can, however, recall several negative ones. I cannot fathom what it must be like for those who do not check all of the aforementioned boxes.
The writer is correct on one point: You do reap what you sow. When all you sow is hate, distrust and fear, you can expect the same in return. Until law enforcement collectively decides to make the difficult decision to look inward and address the root problems of why it is perceived negatively in the community, rather than continuing to play the victim card, I expect nothing will ever change.
Todd Harrison, Minneapolis
In a Sept. 29 letter to the editor, a former police officer takes "DFL politicians" to task for the drop in size of the MPD, citing PTSD and a lack of feeling appreciated.
It is worth noting that the majority of DFL politicians never supported the "defund the police" movement, and most of those who stood on the stage at Powderhorn Park are no longer in office.
However, a bigger oversight in the letter is how the writer overlooks the behavior of these same officers following the murder of George Floyd. The whole world watched in horror as video after video documented Minneapolis officers spraying peaceful crowds with tear gas as they drove past in their SUVs. Rubber bullets were turned on the press and protesters, and some lost their eyes as some officers targeted faces in clear violation of training and protocols. How many of the officers who resigned claiming PTSD were going to be investigated for their actions in those days?
It defies common sense that officers were combative enough to drive around the city assaulting residents, but a few mean words from some local politicians have them tuck tail and run.
The fact is, a much bigger contribution to the low levels of staffing today is this: The culture that current and past police officers enabled attracted the wrong kind of individuals to police work, and when faced with appropriate accountability, they moved on. This has left a void that it will take some time to fill with the right kind of officers. I hope the author and his colleagues reflect on their own failings on the force to hold colleagues to high standards, and that they can offer concrete steps forward and not just cast blame on everyone but themselves.
Mike Hess, Minneapolis