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The Chicago Marathon was cancelled due to heat — 315 people taken to hospital

Friday, October 7th 2022, 4:37 am - On this day in weather history, the Chicago Marathon was cancelled.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Sunday, October 7, 2007, 35,867 runners from around the world lined up at the starting line for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. It was the event's 30th anniversary and the hottest Oct. 7 in Chicago history. By the afternoon, the heat rose to 31.1°C.

The marathon (42.2km) started at 8:00 a.m. and was cancelled 3.5 hours after. The race wasn't set up for success. Carey Pinkowski, executive race director, said that the powers that be never considered cancelling the event because the number of people running was manageable.

1185px-20070909 Chicago Half Marathon edit Chicago, Illinois. Courtesy of TonyTheTiger/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

"In most cases, they have trained for 25 weeks," said Pinkowski. "Marathon runners are tough people. They train in difficult conditions."

But the majority of the runners weren't competitive athletes, meaning they weren't necessarily properly trained on how to deal with extreme heat.

Race participants mentioned that there weren't enough water stations. A runner shared that she "had no water until Mile 8."

Spectators started to buy runners water bottles to compensate for the lack of hydration provided by the event.

Though the race was cancelled around noon, many people already suffered from heat-related injuries. Approximately 315 runners were transported from the course to the hospital via ambulance.

A 35-year-old died after collapsing in the 19th mile, but it's still unclear if the heat was a contributing factor.

To learn more about the 2007 Chicago Marathon, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pexels

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