Weekend runners warned about dangerous heat

June 7, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Some got in a few miles Thursday night from Fleet Feet Sports in Old Town. Temperatures are pretty mild, nothing like the heat they are expecting over the weekend. With several large races planned, race directors are taking extra precautions.

"We're sending out emails to them, warning them, preparing them. This is not a PR day. Take it easy," said Jeff Graves.

Organizers of the 13.1 Race on the South Side last year suspended the event when temperatures reached into the upper eighties. Eleven people were transported to hospitals and 26-year-old Zach Gregory died of conditions related to his enlarged heart.

"It's been devastating to our whole family," said Zach's mother, Sandra Gregory. "We had no idea. There are no symptoms of the heart condition he had."

Runners picking up their race packets Thursday evening were trying to prepare themselves.

Mandy Allen is running her first half marathon Saturday.

"I have adjusted my personal goal and I'm going to make sure I run with a water bottle the whole time," Allen said.

Many of the runners also here to listen to ultramarathon champion Scott Jurek who won the Badwater 100 Mile Race in temperatures reaching 125 degrees.

"You have to be cautious, you have to respect the conditions and it definitely humbles you," Jurek said.

Organizers of the Ragnar 200 Mile Relay from Madison, Wisc. to Chicago are urging runners to keep a close watch on one another in addition to drinking plenty of fluids.

According to the advice of race directors, when it's going to be hot like this, it's just as important to drink before the race as it is during the race, advice they hope most of the runners will follow.

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