Decompressing from a week-long competition takes a while. For the organizers and committee members it make take even longer. A competition becomes a community, and after a day or so, the outside world goes away. Then it interrupts us again when we get home. A long drive home helps with the transition.
Back in Southern Pines (after getting home at 11 pm last night) we had lunch with Kelly Valdes and Craig Kellogg. Kelly’s perspective on the event was from watching the live feed produced by USEF from the comfort of her Barcalounger. She said it was fantastic, and could discuss which routes were the faster ones, mistakes people made, etc. She probably saw much more of the entire marathon than either Craig or I did – or many others for that matter. Craig’s perspective was the competitor’s. He navigated for Intermediate driver Daphne White and trains Marcie Quist who drove her Hackney Hal in the FEI Single Horse class. (Both did very well, by the way!) So his stories from the other end of the competition were very interesting. And of course, Richard and I had the perspective from the other end of the competition – much of which I’ve already written about.
The competition ended abruptly when lightening and thunder were heard and torrential rain hit. Making these decisions is always hard. I’ll never forget two years ago at Southern Pines when we knew that tornados were a possibility for marathon day. The organizing team and Technical Delegate decided the day before to alter the marathon start and compress the time between drivers. All drivers and volunteers were safely off the course when the serious weather hit. Fortunately the tornados did not hit us, but they did hit not far away and some did some very serious damage. I’ll always be grateful to our Technical Delegate who pushed to have the plan in place. We may have looked foolish if the day turned out bright and sunny, but I’d rather look foolish than the alternative.
The organizers did the right thing by calling the competition to an end.
Live Oak always has something new up its sleeve. I wonder what it will be next year?