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Heat, aches and pains, but no major hitches at 30th Los Angeles Marathon

Hot temperatures plague LA marathoners, but race proceeds smoothly

Nearly 23,000 runners raced through Los Angeles streets and boulevards, enduring hot temperatures, cramps and other aches and pains, but the 30th Los Angeles Marathon proceeded with few hitches, organizers said.

The sun was out and so were the misters during the annual event, which began at Dodger Stadium and a 7 a.m. starting temperature of 75 degrees and ended at the Santa Monica Pier, where the finish line temperature was 87 degrees.  

The event was moved up half an hour earlier than planned to help minimize heat-related ailments along the 26-mile route.

“As predicted the heat was a challenge for many participants. However, months of planning, race week preparations and the decision to move the start time 30 minutes earlier made a difference," said Tracey Russell, chief executive of LA MARATHON LLC.  "We’re pleased the runners heeded the advice of race officials and our medical staff to keep themselves safe."

Several record high temperatures were recorded, including 92 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, surpassing the old record of 85 in 1978, and Long Beach, where it was 92 degrees, breaking a record of 86 also in 1978. 

Hot temperatures, fueled by a high-pressure system, were expected again Monday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup.

According to an unofficial tally, about 22,846 runners started the race and 22,310 finished, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Shawn Lenske, who also acted as spokesman for the event's multi-agency Joint Information Center.

A total of 185 people were medically treated for mostly minor injuries that included cramps, shortness of breath, asthma attacks and heat exhaustion. Thirty-six people were taken to hospitals, most in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

A 61-year-old man suffered cardiac arrest at the 22-mile marker, near San Vicente Boulevard and Montana Avenue. Emergency personnel were able to revive him and he was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in critical condition but was conscious, Lenske said.

Organizers had set up 24 water and aid stations along the route and several fire engines were strategically placed to provide runners with a cooling mist of water from hoses.

"These people are running a fair amount of miles and pushing their bodies at the same time, so we always have to take that to heart," Lenske said.

No arrests were reported during the event, which for several years has been under heightened security and monitoring by federal and local authorities following the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Twitter: @CarlaRiveraLat 

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