Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio and Dallas Marathons In Conflict (UPDATED)

The Metro PCS Dallas Marathon, which has long drawn runners from across the state, will face competition on race day in 2013.

The San Antonio Marathon, part of the popular Rock ā€™nā€˜ Roll series of 32 races, recently moved its date from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8 in direct conflict with the Dallas race.

Competitor Group, which owns and operates the series, proceeded with the date change despite a contract with Dallas expressly forbidding the group from doing so.

The move has stunned Dallas race organizers and disappointed runners who have participated in both events in the same marathon season.

I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio (RnRSA) half in 2011. It turned out to be a brutal day — beating sun, high humidity, and no wind. The conditions were so taxing on athletes that they drained the water stops of all their fuel. Halfway through the race, even though I was on a PR pace, I basically quit and ran/walked to the end. My promise to my family to always take care of myself took precedence.

It may sound dramatic, but I was lucky to survive that day. As I approached the finish line, I was overcome by a swarm of emergency personnel. They were rushing to assist Jorge Fernandez, the runner who collapsed past the finish line and subsequently died. My first guess as to the cause was heat stroke, which was later verified. My second guess is that I’d never run the race again unless the date shifted.

From what I read, 2012 was just as steamy. Although there is a non-complete contract in place, RnRSA did right by their runners by moving the race to cooler December. You might think their parent company Competitor is solely focused on profits, but you will find it hard to persuade me that their participants’ health isn’t also a top concern.

Update 2013/01/24: as just as quickly as I post this, Competitor caved and reset the date for their race — which now conflicts with another of their events.