Lifestyle & Belief

Boston Marathon runners see record heat


Men's elite field heads out during the start of the 116th running of the Boston Marathon April 16, 2012 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.


Darren McCollester

Wesley Korir, a Kenyan citizen and permanent United States resident, won the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 40 seconds as record high temperatures slowed down race times.

The time was five minutes behind world record, established a year ago by Geoffrey Mutai, who dropped out at around the 18-mile mark due to cramping, the Associated Press reported.

Sharon Cherop won the women's race by just 2 seconds. It was the second-slowest Boston race since 1985 due to high temperatures in the 80s.

Summer-like weather created challenging conditions, according to CBS, slowing the pace of runners on the 26.2-mile race and creating potentially dangerous conditions for the rest of the over 22,000 participants.

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Officials had warned runners to take precautions.

Boston Athletic Association co-medical director Pierre d’Hemecourt said “Please don’t run the marathon” to runners with underlying medical issues, such as a cold or a virus that might leave them dehydrated, the Associated Press reported.

Organizers also said those who have either not run in the heat or run a full marathon previously should wait till next year. The BAA is offering a deferment to those who want to sit it out, just as they did two years ago when a volcano erupted in Iceland making it impossible for hundreds of runners to reach Boston from Europe.

“Only the fittest runners should consider running," BAA executive director Tom Grilk said "The risks... are simply greater than normal.”

“We’re asking runners who haven’t run previously to think about tomorrow and maybe coming back next year,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino said Sunday at the traditional pre-race pasta dinner, according to the Associated Press. “We don’t want have any accidents out there, or anybody overtaken by the heat.”

It appeared that many took the advice given by the Boston Athletic Association and decided to sit this marathon out. The AP reported that as many as 4,300 runners did not show up in the heat. Of the 27,000 signed up to run the race, only 22,426 were at the starting line.

Last year's cooler temperatures and a helpful tailwind helped Mutai finish in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds, while this year the elite runners were pacing themselves slower to cope with the warm temperatures.

Canadian Joshua Cassidy won the men's wheelchair race at 1 hour, 18 minutes, 25 seconds, the fastest in history. American Shirley Reilly won the women's counterpart.