“It was about 5:30 the sky literally turned black and within 15 minutes you could see the wall of clouds and dust coming,” Brookings race director Matt Bien said Friday. “They were estimating 80- to 90-mile-per-hour winds. Hundreds of trees across the community are down. We haven’t had power for 20 hours or so now.”
Bien said that after the storm went through Thursday night, he knew things were going to be challenging for the race to run on Saturday. So at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning, he was out with the other marathon organizers and volunteers, each on a separate section of the course, cutting and clearing trees to prepare for the race.
“We were going for it,” Bien said. “Though we were all seeing pieces of [the storm’s damage] and couldn’t see the bigger picture.”
As the morning went on and the full scale of the damage came into view, the city assessed the scale of the damage and canceled the race, which has been run since 1970. Bien said he was shell shocked, but that it was out of his hands.
“The city made the decision … it was the right call. With no power, no street lights, there’s literally an accident waiting to happen on every corner.”