Downpour creates ‘brutal’ 1,600 meters at Baldwin Invite

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Saturday, May 5, 2018 | 3:33 AM


Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson was leading the boys 1,600-meter race when the storm clouds let loose over the Baldwin Invitational.

The rain was shockingly cold, thunder followed a quick flash of lighting and strong wind gusts rushed through the stadium. The announcer told spectators to scramble for cover, but with only a few hundred meters left, the WPIAL distance runners chugged along to the finish line.

What rain?

“It was crazy,” said Anderson, who won the race. “Coming around that last curve, you’re trying to kick it in, and the rain opened up and the wind just stood us up. It was honestly wild.”

It was unlike anything he’d run through before, Anderson said, but his winning time of 4:26.58 was only a couple of seconds off his personal best.

“I was head-down and leaning and going hard,” Anderson said.

The runners knew it could rain heavy at some point Friday as rain drops fell occasionally. The meet was delayed for nearly an hour after their 1,600 while organizers waited for the storms to clear.

“It was pretty brutal the last lap,” said Fox Chapel’s Jonathan Folkerts, who placed seventh. “I think everybody could handle the rain, but it was mostly the wind. That was the toughest part because you were running right into it. Down the backstretch, that’s when it really started picking up. But coming down the final stretch, it was brutal.”

But after three complete laps around the 400-meter track, they weren’t about to quit early.

“I don’t really think about a whole lot during races,” Folkerts said, “but I vaguely heard them saying participants and everyone get off the track. I (thought): ‘Oh man, it’s real bad.'”

But they still reached the finish line.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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