Runners should prepare for hottest Fargo Marathon yet
FARGO The weather for Saturday is expected to be festive for a Fargo Marathon yard party. Not so much for a marathoner. Race officials this week are busy preparing for temperatures in the low 80s. That's pushing the heat index envelope, executive...
The weather for Saturday is expected to be festive for a Fargo Marathon yard party. Not so much for a marathoner.
Race officials this week are busy preparing for temperatures in the low 80s. That's pushing the heat index envelope, executive director Mark Knutson said, but nothing that indicates the course will get shut down.
WDAY meteorologist Daryl Ritchison said the temperature at the start of the race will be warmer than any high temperature in the previous five marathons, although colder weather has been the norm.
Not this time.
So runners should heed the usual warnings: drink plenty of fluids, dress appropriately, wear sunscreen and don't expect to run a personal record.
"Take it easy," said Scott Keenan, the race director for Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., that endured a hot race last year. "Understand that you need to run within yourself, listen to the Fargo officials and be smart out there."
Like most large marathons, the Fargo has a flag system at every aid station to warn runners of a heat problem. A yellow means use caution, a red warns of heat dangers and a black shuts down the entire course.
That happened at the Chicago Marathon in 2007 when the temperature reached 88 degrees with high humidity.
The humidity will be high on Saturday morning, but Ritchison said it's usually high every morning in Fargo this time of the year. He expects it will subside as the morning goes on.
"Humidity will not be a factor," Ritchison said. "It's not something that will impact the runners."
The wind could impact them, however, at 20 to 30 mph from the south.
"I don't think it will be outrageously crazy," Ritchison said. "It looks to be due south and a lot of the race has north-south components.
Knutson said there is probably more of a concern with half marathoners not being prepared for the heat. Marathoners are usually better trained, he said.
Additional water has already been ordered for all aid stations. And Knutson said if an aid station begins to experience a shortage, trucks loaded with water will be ready to replenish the supply.
Keenan said last year's warm temperatures in Duluth tested Grandmas Marathon officials.
"It was taxing for us last year from the medical side in the sense that everybody was busy," Keenan said. "But we made it through nicely. Just be prepared."
To help with preparation, NDSU cross country coach Ryun Godfrey said it's important to maintain hydration all week, but don't go overboard.
"I don't think it has to be anything excessive," he said. "Take some water in the morning, at lunch and in the evening. I just think it needs to be a consistent habit for them."
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.