Students run 5k under risky weather conditions

Fariha Beig, Author

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As Moonlight Run officials announced that they did not recommend participants to run in the rain, 5k runners were ready to take on the risky weather and run. 

– Fariha Beig

Numerous Palo Alto High School students ran five kilometers through rain and thunder at the 27th annual Moonlight Run on Sept. 9 at the Baylands Athletic Center despite warnings from police and race officials.

Lightning appeared as the 10k run, which preceded the 5k run, was in progress and as it came to a halt, it started to rain. Officials warned runners that they were “running at their own risk,” but that did not stop some of them.  

“I thought it [the weather] was a lot of fun actually,” senior Anne Hildebrandt said. “I love running in the rain … I love lightning and thunder.”

Moonlight officials took steps to ensure the runners’ safety according to Minka van der Zwaag, Palo Alto Recreation Programs Supervisor and Moonlight official.

“At the point that staff realized the situation, we [Moonlight officials] took the necessary steps prudent to what we thought was safe for the runners,” Zwaag said.

Students ran for a multitude of reasons, ranging from the desire to keep tradition alive to enjoying the rain. The weather conditions were not unbearable, according to junior Charlotte Barry.

“I ran the Moonlight Run because it’s my first time,” Barry said. “I wanted to run it through with my friend and the weather conditions didn’t really affect our run; I love it.”

The 5k run was originally scheduled to take place at 8:45 p.m., but Moonlight Run event coordinators postponed it to 9:15 p.m., hoping weather conditions would improve. At 9:17 p.m., Moonlight officials announced that they did not recommend participants that run in the rain.

Students who ran the 5k earned praise from fellow Paly students.

“They [5k runners] are really fearless … a lot of people looked at the lightning and backed down, but these guys were like, rain or snow we might as well keep running,” Justin Zhang said.

Senior Elizabeth Garcia said that the Paly runners should run despite the rain since they had already paid for registration. 

The weather cleared toward the middle of the race. After crossing the finish line, the students said that it had been a good decision to run. 

“It was a great race,” junior Scotty Bara said. “Everyone had fun, it was a good way to bring the community together and a good way to exercise.”

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