It looks like it's going to be one of those weekends when runners spent some of their time looking up instead of looking ahead.
The forecast is for rain for portions of the weekend. In fact, one forecast used the phrase "soaking rain" for Saturday. While raincoats are required apparel at the Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls, they usually aren't necessary at the Jack O'Lantern Run. That 5-kilometer race goes around Goat Island and is one of the most scenic races of the year ... when it's dry. Maybe we'll get lucky, because it's a nice event. Besides, if you ran last year, your name will be on the back of this year's shirt.
There are a couple of other races scheduled on Saturday. The Chestnut Ridge Challenge will be held at 9 a.m. in Orchard Park; register at the Casino. It's a 10-kilometer event. The Lighthouse Baptist 5K on Wheatfield St. in North Tonawanda has an unusual 2 p.m. starting time. No doubt Paul Hassall, who already has 78 races to his credit this year, is figuring out a way to run a double-header.
On Sunday, the Niagara Falls International Marathon has the day to itself, and the weather is supposed to be a little better. This is the race that starts at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, works its way over the Peace Bridge, and finishes in Niagara Falls, Ont. This race doesn't attract many Americans, perhaps because border crossings aren't as easy as they used to be, but it's still a unique event. Runners will be allowed to walk around the art gallery at the start, as the facility will open at 8 a.m. before the 10 a.m. start. Kathrine Switzer, author and television commentator, will be on hand at the start of the race.
--- Budd Bailey