Long-distance runners who saw their big day canceled had a mix of thoughts about salvaging their training and readiness.
One of them: What do I run now?
Breanna Sieracki, a local favorite in the Twin Cities Marathon women's field, said she was surprised by the cancellation but supported the race organizers, Twin Cities in Motion.
"It's a disappointment but you have to think about everybody. I think they made the right call," she said.
Sieracki instead went for an easy 6-mile run Sunday morning after consulting with her coach, Chris Lundstrom, of Minnesota Distance Elite, and will begin pondering her next race. A half-marathon is possible.
The marathon was a qualifier for the Olympic marathon trials next February in Orlando, Fla. Unlike some others who were tapered and ready for the attempt, Sieracki has already qualified for the women's field. She ran 2 hours, 33 minutes and 26 seconds at Grandma's Marathon last June (the qualifying standard for women is 2:37:00.)
Sieracki said her status has reduced some of the pressure after Sunday's jolt. The elite runner has decided to take a week off and enjoy time with her family.
Sieracki also is an online coach, and said some of her athletes are scrambling.
"I am having the same conversation with people," she said. "I think this just teaches you resilience, and you definitely need that when doing the marathon."
Andrea Haus, community manager for Mill City Running, said many Mill City race team members are looking for alternate marathons and half-marathons in the next two to three weeks.
"Don't be discouraged because the one day didn't work out. You still have the fitness you fought so hard for," Haus advised runners.
Many Mill City runners are thinking about Des Moines or Indianapolis, she said, for the ease of travel and less-expensive accommodations than what a runner might find near other races this month in, say, Washington, D.C., or northern California.
"It's easy to prolong your training one or two weeks, and still be in a really good spot for race day," she said, just by repeating the last couple weeks of a training plan. She advised focusing on quality workouts rather than trying to run long — and definitely don't go out too hard in the heat, which the National Weather Service expects will last through late Tuesday.
"The best thing to do training-wise is not to do anything too extreme today, like run too hard or too far because you're upset about the race," Haus said. "It's OK to be upset but don't take it out on your body."
There are several marathons and other races that could entice runners looking to find replacements. But some of the smaller races are filling up fast, including the Blue Ox Marathon in Bemidji. Race director Philip Knutson said the remaining few spots for the full marathon were snapped up within about 10 minutes of the Twin Cities Marathon cancellation announcement.
Des Moines is ready to accommodate thousands of runners Oct. 15, said Des Moines Marathon Director Jake Jass. The Des Moines marathon will open a discounted registration Monday morning to accommodate Twin Cities Marathon runners.
"I've been in the runner's shoes before," Jass said. "We're trying to figure out a way to make it as seamless as possible."
There's room on the course to scale up the race, Jass said, but runners might not all get medals and other Des Moines Marathon-branded goodies. But they can still run, race and have the officially recorded times needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon or even Olympic trials.
"They'll be able to run and have a really good time here in Des Moines," Jass said. "We can hold thousands more than what we have right now, and still produce a really solid event."
The smaller Mankato marathon is also trying to scale up its Oct. 21 race, said Joy Leafblad, sports and special events director for Visit Mankato. After being flooded with emails and messages from Twin Cities runners Sunday morning, Leafblad and the Mankato team opened up a new discounted marathon category. Like Des Moines, the later entrants might not be able to get medals and shirts, but Leafblad said she will look into what it would take to order more on such short notice. She expected to be able to accommodate at least 100 additional runners for the full marathon, and said there is still space in the half-marathon.
"We're doing our best to open up and meet as many of those runners' requests as we can," she said. "We're really looking forward to seeing runners."
* The Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon and half-marathon bill themselves as flat and fast, and happen Oct. 7 in Luck, Wis. The marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Race director Maria Long said later Sunday that 114 new marathoners and 11 half-marathoners signed up. "It was unexpected to say the least," she said in an e-mail. The current National Weather Service forecast is mostly sunny with a high of 50.
* Also on Oct. 14 is the Blue Ox Marathon in Bemidji — but there is already a long and growing wait list to enter. There are a few spots remaining in the 26-kilometer and half-marathon distances but they're going fast.
* The Des Moines Marathon and half-marathon are Oct. 15 in Des Moines, Iowa. Another Boston qualifier that includes a lap on the Drake University track, a special discounted registration will open Monday for Twin Cities Marathon registrants.
* The Mankato Marathon and half-marathon are on Oct. 21, and registration will be open until Oct. 20. There is a discounted marathon registration option still open for runners who are willing to forgo medals and race shirts.
* Some Twin Cities runners are eyeing the Indianapolis Monumental marathon on Oct. 28. Registration is still open for the full and half-marathon.
* To stay in the Twin Cities, consider the Halloween Half marathon on Oct. 28.
* Madison (Wis.) hosts its marathon and half-marathon Nov. 12. There also is a 10-kilometer race. The races start and end on Capitol Square.