PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thunderstorms interrupted the first day of events at the annual Penn Relays, in West Philadelphia, but they didn’t dampen spirts.

The morning races went off on schedule, and for some teams there was cause for celebration.

“I think we did pretty good — this is our best time yet this season,” said Lindsay Sheehan, a freshman member of Pennridge High School’s women’s 4 x100 squad.  “I know we can do better, but the weather wasn’t so great.”

By lunchtime, athletes and fans were sitting together under cover of the Franklin Field stands (top photo), waiting for a storm to pass.

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penn relay athletes kurtz Rain Dampens Start Of Penn Relays, But Athletes Remain Sunny

Greg Burley, a girls’ high school coach from Baltimore, said it didn’t really matter how hard it rained.

“If they say go, we go,” he mused.  “They don’t like to cancel Penn Relays ’cause they don’t do refunds (laughs).”

But the problem was lightning.  Each strike causes a 30-minute delay, and there were several, pushing back the schedule by over an hour and a half — time enough for the athletes to meet new friends and renew old aquaintances.

“It’s such an amazing event, such a good time,” said Sheehan, the Pennridge runner.  “And even though it’s like my third time, it’s still fun to be here. It never gets old.”

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060

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