Temperatures soared Monday during the 116th Boston Marathon. About 16 percent of registered runners didn't compete in this year's race, even as wheelchair athlete Josh Cassidy set a new world record. Kenyan runners took the top three spots in today's race.
Expectations that competitors in Monday's Boston Marathon will be out on the road in temperatures as high as 88 degrees F. prompt the question: Is this the hottest marathon ever?
Many long-distance races are scheduled at times of the year when the weather is typically mild, to avoid extreme conditions for athletes. But there have been past marathons in the US when the mercury has risen nearly as high and even higher.
The two biggest marathons in the US, in New York and Chicago, have both held races in years when temperatures or humidity spiked. Boston, moreover, appears to be the record-holder for high-temp runs in a major marathon: In 1905 (this year marks the 116th running of the Boston Marathon), the mercury reached 100 degrees.
The Boston Athletic Association, the marathon organizer, allowed competitors to opt out of the race because of the heat and defer until next year. About 16 percent (or 4,290 registered runners) decided against competing Monday, the BAA said.
Race organizers recommended late last week that “only the fittest runners should consider participating” in the 26.2-mile course, and, in only the second time since the event began, gave registrants the opportunity to defer participation until 2013. The other time was in 2010, when several hundred European runners could not make the trip because of air travel delays caused by the erupting volcano in Iceland.
Kenyan runners took the top three spots in today's race, with Wesley Korir winning the men's marathon and Sharon Cherop winning the women's. It took Korir 2 hours, 12 minutes, 40 seconds to finish, the second-slowest Boston Marathon since 1985. His time was more than five minutes slower than Geoffrey Mutai, the Kenyan who won last year in record time. Korir told The Boston Globe that he began “singing and praying to God to help me” when he began to cramp up about halfway through the race..