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Friday, March 15, 2013

Who runs a road race in 95-degree heat?

As many of you know, I ran seven Marathons and many shorter distance races between 1989-92, so I know a little bit about this topic. When I was a member of the New York Road Runners Club, whenever the temperature rose above about 80 degrees, the run became a 'fun run.' No official clocks.

In Tel Aviv on Friday morning, they took two steps to account for the fact that it was 95 degrees (35 Celsius): They canceled the full Marathon (26.2 miles, 42.195 kilometers) and they started all races so that they would finish (does that mean the winners finish or everyone?) by 9:30 am. It wasn't enough.

One person is dead and 12 more are in serious condition with heatstroke after joining 35,000 runners on the streets of Tel Aviv in 95-degree heat.
A 29-year-old man who participated in a shortened Tel Aviv Marathon on Friday died and a dozen others were in serious condition from dehydration after ignoring the Health Ministry’s warning that the searing heat and humidity would make participation a danger to health.
Magen David Adom ambulances evacuated the victims and took them to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, while medics treated dozens of others affected lightly or moderately for heatstroke, in which the loss of body fluids affects numerous organs. MDA spokesman Zaki Heller said five were in the most danger and were put under anesthesia and respirated in the hospital. In addition to Sourasky, Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer also admitted patients.
Upon the ministry's recommendation, the full 42-kilometer marathon was cancelled. The ministry also advised that all runners for shorter races reach the finish line no later than 8.30 a.m. and preferably earlier before the temperature would reach 30. The full marathon is due to be held on March 22. But many runners -- and tens of thousands of spectators -- participated on Friday nevertheless as the thermometers popped through the 36-degree-Celsius mark.


Tel Aviv City Council Member Reuven Lediansky was quick to call for an investigative inquiry into the decision to hold the marathon, saying that "the negligence of the municipality today took the life of a marathon runner, for the second time since 2011."
"I am shocked that despite the warnings about the heat and the orders from the Health Ministry, that the mayor decided to hold the marathon anyway for financial reasons," he added.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai responded to the incident: "the city of Tel Aviv expresses its deep regret over the death of one of the runners in the city's marathon." He added that the city followed instructions from the Health Ministry and Ichilov Hospital in deciding to hold only the half marathon, so the event would end by 9:30 am.
Huldai said that runner who died was taking part in the half marathon and began running at 6am and was treated by medical staff at 8am. At the time the weather was only somewhat hot, according to the weather services, Huldai said.
Army Radio also quoted Huldai as saying that in light of US President Barack Obama's scheduled visit to Israel next week, it would not have been possible to postpone the events that took place on Friday.
Morons. Say what you will about him, but at least New York City's Mayor Bloomberg eventually got with the plan and canceled the New York City Marathon after Hurricane Sandy. the sad thing is that because of the way politics work here, Huldai is unlikely to pay a price.



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