Warm temperatures test marathon changes

October 12, 2008 9:41:13 PM PDT
Changes made to the Chicago Marathon were put to the test on another warm race day.Temperatures pushed into the 80s, just like last year when one runner died, and hundreds more needed treatment.

Problems did arise this year, but not on the same scale as 2007. The race did not end early Sunday.

This year, there were more aid stations along the route with more water. There also was a new alert system to warn runners of track conditions.

The marathon was elevated to its highest level in the latter part of the race, which is red.

In all, 61 people were transported to local hospitals for a variety of ailments. The race

Approximately, 45,000 were registered to run Sunday, but only 33,000 competed in the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Elite and amateur runners covered 29 Chicago neighborhoods and were greeted by thousands of spectators and supporters.

When the race started Sunday at 8 a.m. the temperature was 64 degrees, much cooler compared to last year. However, the temperatures quickly rose, along with the humidity for the runners from across the world.

Kenya's Evans Cherulyot won his second marathon in two attempts, pulling away late from countryman David Mandago before finishing in 2 hours, six minutes and 25 seconds.

"I am very happy. [I] tried my best to run. I felt the humidity when we were running ," said Cherulyot.

The 26-year-old winner said he intended to use some of the $100,000 in winnings to open a supermarket back in his homeland.

Sunday was a great day for Russia's Lidiya Gigoryeva, as well. The 2007 Boston marathon champion breezed to her second major victory clocking in at 2 hours, 27 minutes and 17 seconds.

"The main concern for me was that, during my training, I felt something in my leg, but the heat was not a problem at al," a translator said for Gigoryeva.

Last year, the sweltering temperatures and shortage of water resulted in collapses. Hundreds of runners received medical treatment and many were taken to local hospitals in 2007. A 35-year-old runner died, although coroners attributed the death to a heart condition and said the runner had not been dehydrated.

One runner did collapse this year at 14th and Michigan but appeared to be ok. Also, this year, the entire city got involved in supporting the runners and taking extra precautions.

Some participants were running the marathon to raise awareness and money for charity. Friends of Julie Turnpull, who died in a fire at Miami University in 2005 with two other students, ran in memory of the three students.

Nearly 7,000 individuals ran on behalf of 65 charities. The goal was to raise more than $10 million to benefit people and communities throughout Chicago and around the world.

The marathon has a nearly $140 million-impact on our economy.


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