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Weather Or Not, Westport Runners Ready

Earlier this week, when the weathermen were warning about the potential perils of Hurricane Earl, most people were worrying about their weekend plans. Not Laddie Lawrence. He’s been through hurricane races before.

Lawrence, the long-time Staples High School track coach, has been directing the Road Runners Summer Series of road races for 46 of its 48 years, and during that time has seen just about every type of weather save snow and ice. But in almost half a century, the races have gone on every Saturday from July through Labor Day, in spite of what Mother Nature throws the runners’ way.

Lawrence recalled one race back in the early 1980s he felt sure wouldn’t come off, as a late-August hurricane was buffeting the area. “I woke up at 4 a.m., the wind and rain was so loud,” he said. “I figured no one would show up. Than at 7 the storm had passed, and the weather was beautiful. I went to Compo Beach and there were 12 people, ready to run.” He admits the course for that run had to be altered to avoid the trees that had fallen on the roads during the night. “I think the only way we’d cancel this weekend is if there was severe storm damage,” he said.

That’s not to say the runners haven’t faced some stiff meteorological challenges this summer, in the form of high temperatures and humidity that blanketed the first half of the 10 progressively longer events. “When I’m sweating at 7 a.m., it’s not a good sign,” he said. Fortunately, for the last four longer races, the weather has done a flip-flop, with temperatures below 70 and low humidity at the start. Similar good conditions are predicted for tomorrow’s concluding 10-miler. Details are at the Road Runners website .

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