CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Marathon is just days away and unusual high temperatures are expected to create an added challenge for runners.
Temps may be getting close to 70 degrees near the start of the race and near 80 by the end. Most runners prefer 50 to 60 degrees.READ MORE: Group Robs Three 7-Eleven Stores Within 30 Minutes Downtown
Organizers say they have a plan in place to keep the 35,000 runners safe and hydrated.
A little rain won’t stop Mandy Youkre from training for her 20th Chicago Marathon, and come Sunday, the warm weather won’t stop her either, but she’s not a fan.
“I prefer cold temperatures,” Youkre said.
She’s already powered through the heat of 2007, when the marathon was cut short, and hundreds of runners wound up in the hospital.
“They ran out of cups because it was so hot that people were drinking and also pouring it on your head,” Youkre said.
The temperature reached 89 degrees that day. It’s not expected to get that hot on Sunday, but it could be the hottest Chicago Marathon in 10 years.
“That shouldn’t be an issue, there’s slightly less runners this year with the COVID environment we’re in,” Youkre said.
“We’ve also learned from that and been able to put on a world-class large-scale event,” said George Chiampas, chief health and safety officer for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.READ MORE: Candace Parker, Chicago Sky Teammates Celebrate WNBA Title With A Drive-Through Run At Portillo's
Marathon Organizers say they’ll have extra water along the course, cold towels at the finish line, and misting stations where runners can cool down. But they also want runners to manage their expectations.
“That may mean adjusting their pace, that may mean they need to maybe walk more, and really maybe a day that they’re not looking to set their personal best,” Chiampas said.
Another challenge is that for some runners, this will their first marathon since 2019.
Youkre ran it virtually last year, and this year she’ll have the help of her cheerleading squad.
Her niece Aggie suffers from spina bifida, so the whole family becomes Team Aggie each marathon.
“We’ve raised $26,200 for Illinois spina bifida association,” Youkre said.
Now she’ll run 26.2 miles, all for Team Aggie.
This year will be a bit smaller than year’s past. About 10,000 fewer participants are expected than 2019.MORE NEWS: William Shatner Speaks At Rosemont Convention After Blue Origin Ride
The heat isn’t the only heath concern. Every runner is required to either show a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination.