This Sunday marks the annual Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon—a day when the streets will be closed, downtown parking will be awful and lots of runners will run past the city’s familiar landmarks for 26.2 or 13.1 miles, or until they can run no longer.
What’s perhaps more remarkable is the fact that this year’s marathon and half marathon will commence with a heat advisory in effect. High temperatures on Sunday are expected to reach 90 degrees, according to Accuweather.com. For perspective, last year's race day had a recorded high temperature of 75 degrees and a low temperature of 66 degrees. The historical average for October 11 is 78 degrees, with a low of 59 degrees.
“Five or six years ago, we had an 85 degree day and we didn’t have any issues,” said Bob Seagren, CEO of Run Racing, the company that runs the Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon. “We’re just taking extra precautions.”
In fact, the company is allowing those set to run the half marathon to begin racing at 6:00AM with the full marathon field of runners. The initial schedule separated the full marathon field and had them starting exclusively at 6:00AM, with all half marathoners scheduled to begin their race at 7:30AM.
“This way, they can start 1.5 hours earlier and they can get off the course,” said Seagren. “Most people will be off the road by 10:30, 11:00AM. It usually doesn’t reach that high temperature until 1:00 or 2:00PM.”
However, half marathon runners looking to place overall or within their age division must start the race at the 7:30AM time, per USA Track and Field (USATF) regulations.
Other heat precautions include increased water and supplies at each of the nine racing stations, increased “Nuun” electrolyte products at three of the stations, misting fans at the finish line and extra electrolytes and water at the finish line’s Festival, according to an email alert sent to race participants.
With a slew of misting fans located at the finish line, the “ambient temperature will be 10 to 15 degrees cooler,” Seagren said.
Extra misting fans will also be located in the medical tent and at miles 11 and 23, according to Seagren. Runners will also find a sport muscle conditioning spray station, called “KOOL N’ FIT” at mile nine and miles 16 and 20.
The race company is also working with Long Beach police and fire to be fully prepared on race day, and will continue to send reminder emails to participants regarding hydration, as proper hydration begins the week before the race.
With that in mind, race organizers and runners will plunge ahead with the race, per usual.
“We’re usually lucky with the cloud cover—it’s kind of freak weather,” said Seagren, with a chuckle. “But it’s better than rain, as far as I’m concerned.”