Sunday's Cowtown Marathon Canceled, But Half-Marathon Still On, After Winter Blast | KERA News

Sunday's Cowtown Marathon Canceled, But Half-Marathon Still On, After Winter Blast

Update, Saturday night: Organizers have canceled Sunday's Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth due to the recent blast of winter weather. The half-marathon is still on -- it starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. 

The Cowtown Marathon and the Ultra Marathon have been canceled. 

"The Cowtown deeply regrets that we cannot conduct the full and ultra-marathons as planned, but invite all Sunday registered runners to join the half marathon at 8:00 a.m.," organizers say on the marathon's website. "No bib or registration changes are required.  There is no Sunday race registration."

Participants should use "extreme caution" when traveling to Will Rogers Memorial Center Sunday, organizers say.  

"The Harley Street and Farrington Field parking lots are currently ice-covered and may not be cleared by Sunday morning," marathon officials said in a statement.

Cowtown executive director Heidi Swartz said in a statement: "The safety of Cowtown runners, volunteers and spectators is our top priority. The Texas weather is challenging all of us this weekend. We are so grateful to the thousands of runners, volunteers, supporters and local officials who regularly participate in our event. Their dedication, patience and flexibility in times like these are invaluable."

The Cowtown Marathon canceled all Saturday races, including the 10K, 5K and Cook Children's 5K, because of the weather. They will not be rescheduled.

KERA spoke with some of the Cowtown participants on Friday:

If the race is canceled, UT-Arlington junior Mayrena Hernandez says she’ll have no choice but to hit the books, instead of the streets.

“I guess I could just get ahead on homework, and not procrastinate on that, not as much fun as running a half marathon, definitely,” Hernandez said.

Jason Liewehr of Denton says he’s a fan of snow, and running in anything where the wind chill is above 20 degrees.

“I was born in the north, so I remember building forts in the snow,” he said. “I also remember waiting for the bus to come while I stood in front of my mother’s car exhaust pipe, trying to stay warm. Of course, living in Texas, it’s nice because we only have to see it for approximately three to five days a year.”  

Earlier coverage from Friday and Saturday

Much of North Texas could get at least an inch of snow. Areas to the northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth could get the most -- up to eight inches.

Most of Dallas-Fort Worth has seen at least two inches of snow since it started falling Friday morning. Cities to the northwest, from Gainesville to Decatur, have seen five inches -- and even more in some areas.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for North Texas until 6 p.m. Saturday.

Officials are encouraging motorists to stay off the roads if they can. Hundreds of accidents were reported Friday.

Light snow is likely through Friday evening, the National Weather Service says. Light snow or freezing drizzle are likely late Friday night through Saturday. Temperatures will be cold enough for snow or ice to accumulate on roads, bridges and overpasses. 

Cowtown Marathon

In Fort Worth, the Cowtown Marathon has cancelled all Saturday races, including the 10K, 5K and Cook Children's 5K because of the weather. They will not be rescheduled.

The Cowtown Expo is closed Friday, but will reopen at 1 p.m. Saturday.

All Sunday races are still on for now; they're scheduled to start at 8 a.m.

If that changes, UT-Arlington junior Mayrena Hernandez says she’ll have no choice but to hit the books, instead of the streets.

“I guess I could just get ahead on homework, and not procrastinate on that, not as much fun as running a half marathon, definitely,” Hernandez said.

Jason Liewehr of Denton says he’s a fan of snow, and running in anything where the wind chill is above 20 degrees.

“I was born in the north, so I remember building forts in the snow,” he said. “I also remember waiting for the bus to come while I stood in front of my mother’s car exhaust pipe, trying to stay warm. Of course, living in Texas, it’s nice because we only have to see it for approximately three to five days a year.”  

Students at UT-Dallas spent Friday afternoon building an igloo on campus.
Credit Kristen Taylor / KERA News

The schools

University of North Texas in Denton closed early today -- and it wasn't alone. Several school districts, including Irving ISD and Midlothian ISD, closed early, too. 

Fort Worth ISD released middle school students at 2 p.m., while releasing other students at regular times. 

Motorist Lisa Lee was among scores of motorists stuck on the highway Friday afternoon, trying to pick up her kids, Kenji and Safira, from early school dismissal in the Northwest ISD.

“It took me about a little over half an hour just to move a mile, and now that I’m on the freeway, it’s been another 18 minutes and I think maybe I’ve moved maybe half a mile,” she said. “I’m so happy that I ate before I got on the road.”

The roads

On Friday morning, Texas Department of Transportation reported an accident on State Highway 75 in Collin County involving about 40 vehicles. The Collin County Sheriff's Office says as many as 40 vehicles left the road, but did not crash into each other. There are no reports of injuries.

For a while,  State Highway 75 near Melissa was shut down in both directions with vehicles strewn everywhere.  Sgt. Lonny Haschel with the Texas Department of Public Safety said: “We’re not sure that it was one big incident. But there are 30 to 40 vehicles involved. There may have been a whole bunch of separate incidents as opposed to some big pile-up.”

“We do know the snow came in really quickly and it was coming down very heavily at times," Haschel said. "And that may have attributed to what the drivers were seeing. They may not have been able to see.  The roadway itself is wet and slick and we’re discouraging travel in US 75 in Collin County.”

Haschel says troopers, Collin County sheriff’s deputies and Melissa police are trying to sort it all out.

Fort Worth police were reporting at least 340 accidents since 8 a.m. Dallas police were reporting at least 80 accidents, 29 of them classified as injury wrecks on freeways.

Dallas city officials say 35 trucks are on the roads sanding various routes this morning.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Snow arrived in the Fort Worth area after 8 a.m. Friday, turning streets into an icy mess and causing all sorts of traffic problems.

At 10:15 a.m., Interstate 35W in Fort Worth was shut down in both directions between Texas 121 and Lancaster Avenue. A portion of Interstate 30 near the Fort Worth mixmaster is also closed.

Wrecks were being reported across the region.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Dallas’ traffic cams show increasingly snow-covered highways, as well, and the North Texas Tollway Authority was reporting at 10:48 a.m. that there’s an accident blocking all lanes of traffic eastbound along the Bush Turnpike near the Frankford Road exit. Southbound U.S. Highway 75 is shut down in the Collin County town of Melissa after a pileup involving up to 40 vehicles, many of them 18-wheelers. The Texas Department of Public Safety is endeavoring to open the highway, but it will take a while.

Later today

The National Weather Service says the afternoon commute may be slower. Roads and bridges could get slick – and stay slick through Saturday morning.

Light snow or freezing drizzle is likely Friday night. Freezing rain and freezing drizzle are possible Saturday. We could see less than one-tenth of an inch of ice Saturday.

National Weather Service radar

A look at some of the snow-covered roads in Arlington.
Credit Gus Contreras / KERA News

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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