Jake’s Journal: Marathon feels the heat


Four days before the race, the forecast was for rainy, chilly conditions. Most of us were wondering how to stay warm. Two days before the race, that changed to concern about the projected highs around 80. In our race packets and on the Web site, marathon officials warned people about the heat advisory and gave helpful suggestions on how to stay cool – warnings they repeated often before the race. They ramped up the number of aid stations. While the forecast surprised us throughout the week, everyone was aware that day.

I can’t speak for the runners aiming for faster than 3:30 or slower than 3:50, but everyone around me who chose to seek water or Gatorade at aid stations had it handed to them by helpful, supportive volunteers. If the stations ran out quickly after we passed by, then I agree that that’s poor planning. But many runners around me simply passed by the stations.

There were also rumors of people being "yanked off" the course with less than a mile left. I can’t imagine this is true either – though, again, I could be wrong. The police officers who told me that the race was off never tried to get me to leave the course. From what I understand, if you weren’t halfway done after 3 hours, 50 minutes, you were told to leave the course. At that rate, those runners would have spent at least another four hours on that blazing course. The runners who were almost done were allowed to finish if they chose – though they were encouraged to slow down or walk.

One runner died, hundreds more were treated for health problems and a few are still in critical condition. Yet race officials are being hit with a double-edged sword. Blamed for not looking after the runners’ safety at the aid stations, chided for ending the race early and not letting them finish. From my experience, Sunday’s race was run under awful conditions – through nature’s doing, not the Chicago Marathon’s. Organizers tried to adjust at every turn, and when lives were on the line, they did what had to be done. I’m sure they could’ve added another couple aid stations or rounded up a few thousand more drinks, but it’s also up to us to know our limits. Slow down. Walk. Drink more before the race.

My heart goes out to the family of Chad Schieber, to all of the runners who suffered health problems during and after the race, and to race officials who are left with more questions than answers after this tragic day.

The post Jake’s Journal: Marathon feels the heat appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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