Thousands attend 'electric' Moonlight Run and Walk

Late-night thunderstorm surprises energetic crowd at Baylands

The 27th annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk drew thousands of people to the Baylands Friday evening -- and the high-energy crowd experienced a surprise thunderstorm that included flashes of lightning and bursts of rain.

The event involved many local runners and walkers, but some participants came from farther afield to take part in the yearly race, held in the evening under the harvest moon. As runners in the 10K race began to trickle in around 9 p.m., a light rain fell that was followed by thunder, lightning, wind and heavier rain. The storm let up around 10 p.m.

Full results from the race are available online.

Were you there? Showcase your photos!

— Palo Alto Online staff


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Posted by T
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2011 at 8:22 am

I ran the 10k for this this last night, but don't see my results on the change of pace site. This is pretty frustrating as this was my very first event.

Anyone have any ideas as to what could have happened? Is there anything I needed to do that I perhaps did not do?

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Posted by warming
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

Global warming is creating some exciting weather around the world this year.

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Posted by Belle
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

The results will be posted on 9/12 according to the Moonlight registration page.
Congrats on your first 10k.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

Not sure how much moonlight there was, but I am sure the thunder, lightening and rain was spectacular.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Portola Valley
on Sep 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm

lighting was dramatic, especially in the open baylands. rain was cooling and welcome.

Congrats to PA Weekly for continuing to sponsor such a great community event.

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Posted by weather
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

In reference to an earlier post: Global warming created thundershowers? Not really. Though rare, it is not unusual for California to experience occasional thunder/lightning, with a bit of rain, during the month of September. Also, rememeber, unusual weather consistently happens. Its always unusually hot, cold, windy, thunderstormy, etc. somewhere.

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Posted by need help
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Anyone know how I might get my medal (or whatever award they gave out). I won my age division and placed high overll. Race organizers were all packed up, early. SOme worker told me to go online and contact the race, but who? I would like my anyone?

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Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Sep 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Bill Johnson is a registered user.

Thanks to all who participated in the Moonlight Run and for your patience and understanding as we worked with Palo Alto city staff and the police to deal with the unusual weather conditions. For safety reasons, we needed to shut off all power to the public address systems, making communication very challenging. Due to the lightning and rain conditions, and the challenges for the timing company operating in that environment, we decided that we shouldn't prolong the evening by attempting to pass out awards. We wanted to get folks home safely as soon as possible.

There will undoubtedly be some problems with the accuracy of the race results because of the conditions and we apologize. The timing company and all the volunteers, staff and police did an amazing job at responding to the very dynamic situation and determining the best way to deal with the dangerous situation of having thousands of people out of doors during a lightning storm. We appreciated everyone's cooperation as we worked with authorities to assess the weather, delay the start of the 5k run and eventually provide those who wanted to run the opportunity to do so.

We will be happy to mail medals to winners who send us an e-mail requesting it, as well as attempt to sort out any inaccuracies with the timing company. Please communicate with us by e-mail to and we'll respond as soon as possible.

Thanks for your participation, and our apologies to anyone who went away disappointed with the evening.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

And a day later out in the baylands are all the chalk lines and glow-sticks fastened to the benches there were last year.

One would think someone would have the courtesy to walk the trail and remove all the plastic glowsticks tied to the benches.

Like this comment
Posted by GloWstiKs
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm

to anon
I'm sure that was just a oversight. This whole event is all volunteers. I believe some volunteer took it upon himself to put those out himself, probably just forgot. Just need a volunteer to take them down.
Anon why didn't you just take them dow? Instead of complaining, volunteer for your community

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Posted by TripleB
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

Exceptional photograph of the lightning!

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Posted by ACOP
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Hi "T" - if your results are missing and you were wearing your yellow or blue race bib, please send us an email so we can research it. Please be sure to include your name, the bib number you wore and which race you participated in. Our e-mail is We would like the opportunity to get this corrected for you.
Jeannine / A Change of Pace

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Posted by T
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Hi Jeannine,

Thank you for your response. I sent an email on Saturday (9/10/2011)with all of my information to the address you posted.


Like this comment
Posted by Moonlight Run volunteer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Thank you PA Weekly for hosting another fun event.

The weather was unbelievable--lightning, thunderstorms, gush of tornado-like wind then warm air--all in a matter of minutes!

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

> GloWstiKs
> Anon why didn't you just take them dow? Instead of complaining, volunteer for your community

if you are part of this midnight run you are just like the people who pick up their dog poop but then leave it on the side of the road - as often happens with other baylands users ... persumably they have the same cynical world view as yours, that you can just accuse anyone who cares of anti-social behavior because they did not pick up behind their anti-social behavior. People that do that are just missing some part of their brain.

Also, I have picked up those things for years, but since I did not put them there and am telling you people who participate in this thing that you have a hole in your process, you should shut up and work to fix your problem instead of thinking everyone else have to be your janitor.

And I bet were I to follow you to your next post where you will jump on American citizens for having an "entitlement" attitude as well due to that right wing deficit in the reality department.

Like this comment
Posted by TrashTalk
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Too much trash left behind from this event this year. Ugh.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Lightning safety.

It appears that the run did not have a lightning safety procedure in place? In my neighborhood (about 1.3 mi from the baylands), there were times when the flash and the thunder were less than 30 seconds apart. Almost all sports rule books require any sport/game to be postponed/delayed when the flash/thunder interval is 30 seconds or less...and that the event cannot restart until 30 minutes has passed since the last 30-second interval of flash/thunder.

Luckily nothing happened - but it seems someone dropped the ball on this.

Like this comment
Posted by HeatBurst
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

No one mentioned that bizarre burst of wind and heat that came around 9:15pm right as they finally started the 5k. That was the strangest part of the weather. What was that?

Like this comment
Posted by Runner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

CP Dad,

The organizers seemed to be very aware of the weather and its dangers. The start of the 5k run was delayed until the storm had passed.

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