A week ago, Tartu Marathon organisers still kept up their hopes. By yesterday, the cold facts hit home: there just won’t be snow for the grand yearly event.
On slopes between Otepää and Elva, the occasional dry grass gives way to mud. The inch of snow that came with initial frost, in January – the rains have taken away. The alternative planned – transferring the ski race to Lake Võrtsjärv – is also out of the question. At the moment, the lake’s ice-cover is under water.
Yesterday, before noon, the organising committee sat down to think things over. The meeting didn’t last long, with nothing much to discuss: the 43th Tartu Marathon, planned for February 16th, 2014, will not happen.
While, a couple of days ago, there were a few placed left, suitable perhaps to ruin some olds skis, then by yesterday morning the land was black, stated the competition director Indrek Kelk. Instead of the desired snow, weathermen keep predicting warmth and rain for the days ahead. So, fixing ski tracks for the marathon is an impossibility.
A day before the marathon, the kids rides were scheduled. These have been postponed till the weather gets better. Tartu Marathon, however, cannot be postponed, as the event is listed in the international Worldloppet ski marathon series with timetable strictly in place. The version of doing the marathon for Estonian skiers was not considered, as the local marathon calendar is filled to the brim with events.
This year’s Tartu Team Relay, the Tartu Marathon Ladies’ Race, and the Open Track, were held last week-end at Alutaguse ski centre, in Ida-Viru County.
According to the marathon club website, over 5,200 sports fans had registered for the 32 km and 63 km race. Of these, many had already paid the participation fee, which, during the discount time, was €25 and €40 depending on length of distance. During these past few weeks, registration already cost €50 and €80.
According to Marathon Club marketing and communication chief Peeter Liik, people will not be returned their participation fee. «In days ahead, we will calculate the revenue and expenditure, and then we’ll see if we can transfer part of the money to next year,» said Mr Liik.
So it was settled in 2008, when the marathon was also cancelled for lack of snow. Then, those who lost their money were able to register for the 2009 Tartu Marathon at 50 per cent discount. Whether the club will be able to offer a discount to those registered, and to what extent, will be revealed later.
All numbers, chips, handbooks and food coupons have already been ordered and the costs thereof covered. Regrettably, the numbers cannot be used in times to come, the date of the event already printed on these. In like manner, the information brochures will be outdated. «We will also have to discuss what to do with start materials,» noted Mr Liik.
Should decent snow still decide to come, towards spring, the club intends to get the tracks in shape.