Sunday’s forecast predicts rain and lots of it, but A2A: Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy organizers hope runners, soggy or otherwise, will keep the race on its seven-figure pace entering its second to last year.
Barring lightning and severe storms, Mercy Hospital Event Coordinator Shannon Steele said the race benefiting the Mercy  Cancer Center Ardmore will go on and hopes this year’s turnout, rain or shine, to reach a turnout of around 900 participants.
And while inclement weather has dampened turnout in the past, she hopes this year will be different.
 “It’s important for people to brave those conditions and come out,” Steele said. “This race is special. Unlike other events, people who run in this race get to look the people in the eye that this race actually affects — cancer patients in Ardmore.”
“For everyone I’ve talked to that’s known someone who’s gone through the cancer center, this race means something to them. It’s their family member or friend that were treated there,” she
added. “Cancer is a big deal, and they run to support a specific person in their life. When you have something that personal and impactful, I think they’re going to make that effort and come.”
Weather in Oklahoma is anything but predictable. And while winds could shift or stall the west-ward storms, Bill Pike of the National Weather Service said it could be a wet one on Sunday, with storms threatening to arrive in Ardmore late Saturday night.
 “Right now we have a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms,” Pike said. “Severe storms are possible, but we think it’ll be more of a heavy rain at this point. We have to wait to get a little closer to see if it will get severe, and a lot can change, but Sunday morning looks like it could be pretty wet.”
Steele said the A2A Marathon Facebook page will post frequent updates on race conditions leading up to the starting time Sunday at 7:30 a.m., adding only lightning in the area and severe weather will bring a halt to the race.
“The race will not be canceled unless there’s a major severe storm system that comes through,” she said. “Rain or shine, we’re having the race.”
In February, Mercy Hospital announced the 10th annual A2A Marathon would be the last, aiming to send the race off ‘with a bang’ as it nears its $1 million fundraising goal.
Going into the race, Steele said early registration has been on par with the 1,400 annual average leading into the final week before the race. But she said like in each of the previous eight years, many runners will wait to register on the day of the race with weather making or breaking final turnout.
Ardmore resident and ultra-marathoner Gono Enriquez, who won the A2A Marathon in 2014 and 2015, will be one of the runners waiting until race day to register. Regardless of the weather, Enriquez said he looks forward to running the 26.2 mile race beginning at Turner Falls and ending at Ardmore’s Noble Stadium.
“Marathons in the rain, it’s like two birds, one stone,” Enriquez said. “You get the run and the shower at the same time. I don’t mind running in the rain. I actually love running in it.”
With 10-12 mile per hour winds projected on Sunday and wet conditions, Enriquez said the A2A won’t see any record times posted. The runner, who’s competed in 50-mile ultramarathons, said the rain isn’t much of a factor during the race.
“It’s just about getting past the start, that’s the only hard part,” he said. “Once you get all warmed up after a few miles, you’re good to go. You’re rolling.”
Enriquez said runners should take precautions though. He advised waterproofing electronics, being cautious on steep hills and slippery roads and taking measures, including vaseline and lubricant, to lessen the inevitable chafing that moisture will add during the race.
Online registration closes midnight Friday. There will be no race-day registration for participants running the Kids Fun Run. Considering the cheaper fees and less race-day stress, Steele recommends all runners who haven’t registered do so in person at the Ardmore Convention Center Saturday before 6 p.m.
Race day registration for runners participating in the marathon, 20.6 Just4Kicks race, Half Marathon and 5K  will begin 6 a.m. Sunday at Noble Stadium.
The last bus transporting runners participating in the marathon, half-marathon and 20.6 race to the starting line at Turner Falls  leaves Noble Stadium at 6:30 a.m. Sunday
Enriquez said it would take a lot more than wet conditions to keep him from attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon with a sub three- hour time Sunday.
“This race is special to me, it’s my home race,” he said. “The cause is great, and you see so many friends and other local runners. I’ll be out there for sure.”