The Towpath Marathon might be run Oct. 13 in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Or it might be postponed. Or it might be canceled.
Right now, the fate of the event is up in the air because of the federal government shutdown.
“That’s the only way to describe it,” said Tim Donovan of the Cleveland-based Ohio Canal Corridor, the grass-roots group that has sponsored the race annually since 1992.
The Towpath Marathon, with a half-marathon and a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race, typically draws about 1,200 runners and 3,500 spectators.
“We don’t know if the race is on or off right now,” Donovan said. “It is creating uncertainty and logistical problems for our runners.”
The race typically lures runners from 33 or 34 states and some from other countries, although the foreign runners might not travel to Northeast Ohio just for the marathon in the 33,000-acre federal park between Akron and Cleveland, he said.
Race officials would like to see the federal shutdown end as soon as possible so their marathon could proceed, Donovan said.
“That would be our preferred option, obviously,” he said.
A decision on postponing or canceling the marathon might have to be made Monday, Donovan said.
“We’d prefer not to abandon the race this year, so rescheduling it in the next few weeks might be an option,” he said.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park went into shutdown mode Tuesday with 109 park employees being furloughed and signs being posted at closed park facilities.
All National Park Service employees were furloughed except for law enforcement rangers, dispatchers and three staffers, Cheryl A. Schreier, the park’s acting superintendent, said in a two-page memo.
All park visitor centers and rest rooms were closed. Nearly all scheduled park programs have been canceled.
All shelter reservations have been canceled. All parking lots and areas with gates are closed and locked.
Park officials were unable to estimate how many gates to roads and parking lots might be in the Cuyahoga Valley park, spokeswoman Mary Pat Doorley said.
Such closures would restrict access to the popular Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and other key park areas.
A paving project at Kendall Lake in Boston Township will continue because the federal contract was previously awarded and is not affected by the shutdown order, Doorley said.
The Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center and the Stanford House with overnight lodging, both in Boston Township, will remain open. They are operated by the nonprofit Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Activities at the Happy Days Lodge in Boston Heights, the Hines Hill Conference Center and the Stone Cottage, both in Boston Township, will be permitted, Schreier said.
A concert tonight by the Battlefield Band at the Happy Days Lodge will be held. The facility was leased out to the conservancy.
Camping at the Stanford House is closed and reservations have been canceled.
The Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy will not hold its Farmers Market at the park’s Howe Meadow in Cuyahoga Falls. The Saturday morning sale will be moved to Old Trail School on Ira Road in Bath Township, if the government is still shut down at noon Friday.
The park’s website will not be operating during the shutdown.
Office staff for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the conservancy and the countryside conservancy are permitted to work in their offices in the park during the shutdown.
Volunteers have been directed to stay away from the park during the closure.
With the Cuyahoga Valley park effectively closed, visitors are encouraged to visit other parks along the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway that extends from Cleveland through Akron and Canton to New Philadelphia, Doorley said.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will not run today. It typically runs Wednesdays through Sundays, and October is a big train season with leaves changing colors in the park, spokeswoman Kelly Steele-Moore said.
The railroad will make a decision at 3 p.m. daily on whether the train will run the next day, she said.
“We’re really in a day-to-day mode,” she said.
The railroad is still selling tickets for upcoming trips and special events, including the holiday-themed Polar Express runs, Steele-Moore said.
Any trips that get canceled by the federal shutdown would result in would-be passengers getting refunds or tickets for future trips, she said.
“We’re hopeful of a resolution, but right now it’s just a waiting game with big impacts,” Steele-Moore said.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or email@example.com.