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Heat concerns

Don’t like my whining? I realized yesterday after hearing that someone died in Chicago during the marathon and another person died at the Army 10 Miler that my complaining about the heat is legitimate. It’s unfortunate that it takes bad news for people to react, but I sure hope that race organizers everywhere in the U.S. take a lesson in yesterday’s awful day in running. (Click here for some good reading from the Chicago Tribune about what happened yesterday.)

After my long post yesterday, I found out about these horrible events and it immediately made me think of what could have been different about my event. There were many of us out there that clearly were struggling. Fortunately, there was plenty of water and lots of shade, but no one who was organizing the event provided a word of caution about the heat, but instead were too worried about whether runners had headphones on. I don’t mind having the obvious overstated when it comes to health… but not a word of it yesterday. Even though I was hot and was very smart to just stop and walk, I might have just opted out of the last 10k had someone said, “You don’t need to kill yourself out there today.” Running and dying don’t make sense – you run to get healthy, not to die. Unless it’s hot.

I’ve read some very stupid comments on other people’s blogs about hydrating and practicing in heat, etc., etc. I say none of that matters when the heat and humidity are up. Sure, you can better prepare yourself for weather like that, but no one is safe when the mercury rises.

  1. Emily
    October 8, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I don’t know…88 degrees can’t be a record for marathon weather. I don’t completely disagree with what the folks in Chicago did–closing the race only to people who hadn’t reached the halfway mark three and a half hours into the marathon was probably a smart way to save novice runners from really hurting themselves chasing a goal. (Remember, more than half the runners finished, and David, at your level of training, you would have been one of them.)
    The reports of not enough water are really maddening, too. I read one woman went seven miles without a drink–that’s ridiculous!
    But before I make a judgment here, I’d like to know how disciplined the training regimen was for the 350-plus runners who were hospitalized. In this country, we are seeing marathon entries on the rise, but we’re also seeing obesity rates on the rise. And in our “quick solution” culture, could it be that some folks are approaching an event like this too lightly?
    I may be totally off-base, but that was the thought that popped into my head as I read the race reports. Clearly, though, heat is dangerous, as you point out, and part of training is learning that you MUST listen to your body, or the price can be high.

  2. David H.
    October 8, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve read a lot today about the Chicago Marathon and I’m torn with who I really agree with. You make an excellent point about higher marathon numbers, yet obesity is on the rise — I’ve often wondered what’s going on with that. I’ll address that at some other point down the road. I’m torn about the race being shut down like it was. All marathons need cut off points for various distances and I wonder if certain races need to be more strict. I’ve read that some marathons have increased their max times because overall times are getting slower. Anyway, officials in Chicago KNEW that it was going to be hot in the days leading up to it — I question how hard it would have been to move the start time up an hour, developed stricter cutoff times and, quite simply, gone to Sam’s Club the night before and bought more water and cups. The stories I’ve read with the lack of water and/or cups baffle me. It sounded like a rice dropoff for hungry people. I sure hope that folks with Richmond Marathon are paying attention and learning a lesson before Nov. 10.

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