Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hot weather in forecast for Chicago Marathon


The temperature could hit 80 degrees during Sunday's Chicago Marathon, making this the third warm weather race in four years.

This begs the question – should the 26.2-mile race be moved to later in the month?

The date has been moved around before – it used to be held in September, then went to late October, then back to early October after a snowstorm hit runners in 1993, executive race director Carey Pinkowski recalled.

Pinkowski said the city likes having the marathon on Columbus Day weekend, because many participants and fans extend their hotel stays through the Monday holiday, bringing more money to local businesses.

But that doesn't mean it can't be reconsidered, Pinkowski said at a news conference Saturday.

"We take a very in-depth look at the event afterward. The date is definitely something we look at," Pinkowski said.

In 2007, the temperature hit 88 degrees, and 315 runners were hospitalized for heat stroke. Last year, the temperature was below freezing.

"They have such variable weather here... it's a really hard question of do you go later or not," said Mary Whittenberg, director of the New York City Marathon.

Pinkowski said he feels "very confident" about the city and race organizers' preparations for handling Sunday's heat.

Organizers also announced Saturday that Sunday's marathon may decide the winners of the World Marathon Majors, a contest that awards $500,000, respectively, to the male and female contender gathering the most points over two years at qualifying races around the world.

This year's top contenders include Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya and Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia on the men's side; and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia and Irina Mikitenko of Germany on the women's side.

If the winner of the World Marathon Majors can't be determined after the Chicago race, it will hinge on the New York City Marathon being held Nov. 7.