TYLER - About 150 runners turned out to Rose Rudman Trail on Sunday morning to run the Homemade Half Marathon, a race quickly pulled together after Tyler Rose Half Marathon organizers canceled their event just days earlier.
"It's was awesome seeing the running community come together and support each other," said Kat Hammers, who ran Sunday. "It was a great event and we had people come as far as Montana to run with us."
When Tyler Rose Half Marathon organizer Mellew Productions sent an email to participants Wednesday informing them the race had been canceled because of "extremely low attendance," participants took to social media to voice frustration not only about the fact that their $75 registration wouldn't be refunded, but that the race they'd been training for had been abruptly canceled so close to race day.
In stepped Cori Moore with Tyler-based iTRI365 Timing and Event Production, promising to make the best of an unfortunate situation with a fun race that would feature a hodgepodge of leftover bibs, medals and freebies from previous events.
And they delivered just that on Sunday, with the race unofficially starting about 7:30 a.m., when enough participants had arrived at Rose Rudman to begin running. As additional runners arrived, they took off with a general idea of running the half marathon distance - 13.1 miles.
That amounted to about three loops through Rose Rudman, though some went off-course to complete their mileage another way, managing their miles through their own electronic devices rather than an officially marked course or timing chip.
"This is one of the most fun races I have run," said Joe Wilson. "I have done five to six half marathons and even though this was short notice, it was well put together."
Other volunteers stepped in to help, including those who donated water and helped with rest stations, and Steve Adams, who donated a banner that participants signed to commemorate the event.
"We have an amazing community who came together to make the best group run of Tyler, Texas," said Ms. Moore, whose iTRI365 group only the week before put on the Corkscrew Half Marathon at Kiepersol Estates. "It was really an honor to be a part of this."