People's United Bank Vermont City Marathon officials activated detailed emergency plans during Sunday's race in response to extreme weather conditions, ending the race just four hours after it began in downtown Burlington.
High heat and humidity had been predicted for the race, and the weather challenged runners and race officials all morning. Just before noon, race organizers increased the condition warning from "High" to "Extreme," signaling that the race was over.
Nicole Ravlin, chair of the board of RunVermont, which organizes the Vermont City Marathon, said the emergency protocols were triggered when race officials received extreme wet bulb globe readings, which is a measurement of stress induced by a mixture of heat, humidity and other factors. Three consecutive readings of 82 degrees were taken at three different locations on the course, prompting officials to discontinue the race two and half hours before its scheduled finish time.
Volunteers and emergency personnel across the course instructed runners to proceed to the nearest aid stations and take shuttle buses to the finish area at Waterfront Park. Many disappointed runners did so, while others ignored the warning and pressed on to the finish line. Runners reported seeing ambulances throughout the 26.2 mile course taking away racers who experienced heat-related illnesses.
About 8,000 runners participate in the marathon and relay, and many more thousands of spectators attend the annual event. Regardless of whether runners finished their full marathon or half-marathon distance on Sunday, Ravlin of RunVermont says participants can receive medals. "If you've trained to do a half-marathon or full marathon, a medal is the least we can do to ease the pain of the training that you've done," she said. Runners should email info@runvermont for details about receiving medals from Sunday's race.
Disclosure: Nicole Ravlin is a member of VPR's Board of Directors. Patti Daniels participated in the Vermont City Marathon.