The Boston Marathon has seen hotter days. There was “The Inferno” in 1909, with temperatures rising to 97 degrees, and the “Run for the Hoses” in 1976, with spectators hosing down winner Jack Fultz in 100-degree heat.
But that is probably little consolation for the participants in Monday’s 116th running of the race, which saw temperatures climb as high as 89 degrees on the course from Hopkinton to Boston’s Back Bay. As many as 4,300 of the nearly 27,000 registered runners opted to skip what is considered by many as a once-in-a-lifetime event.
For the other 22,000 or so, the heat somehow made the day a little more special.
“This is going to be one to look back on and say you ran it,” veteran marathon runner John Whelan said. “You want to be part of the day.”
Tyler Husak, a 25-year-old runner from of Olin, Iowa, seemed to share the sentiment. The heat caused him to faint around the 23-mile mark (luckily he was caught by a nurse). After being treated at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Husak returned to the course and finished the race just after 7 p.m.
Race organizers said more than 2,000 participants received some level of medical attention. Chris Troyanos, medical coordinator for the Boston Athletic Assn., said medical tents along the course treated some 800-1,200 more people than they do during a typical Boston Marathon.
In addition, about 120 were taken to hospitals in ambulances. One runner was taken from the course in serious condition, though details were unavailable.
Still, the majority of runners seem to have been able to find one way or another to beat the heat.
Dan Edstrom of Denver, who suffered heat stroke running the Twin Cities Marathon a few years ago, dunked his head in a cooler filled with ice and water provided by various family members at several spots along the course. Jason Warick of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, took a preemptive ice bath before the race.
“It was brutal, just brutally hot,” Warick said.
Matt and Sarah Labrie, both experienced marathon runners, did not register for this year’s race. Instead, the married couple provided a cooling station for runners with a water-spraying system they found when they moved into their house, which happens to be right along the marathon route.
“I can’t wait to see what my water bill will be after today,” Sarah Labrie said. “Hopefully, I can get a reimbursement from the BAA.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.