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Heat Will Be Number One Concern For Boston Marathon Runners

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – I am always amazed at how quickly we can flip the switch from one season to the next here in New England. Just 10 days ago, it was snowing in Boston and it seemed that winter may linger on forever. And now here we are, preparing for the 121st running of the world’s oldest annual marathon while basking in 80 degree heat. I’m not sure that any New England event signals the official start of spring more than tens of thousands of people running past a packed Fenway Park on Patriots Day. It is our local version of The Masters. While our flowers may not be fully in bloom yet, it sure feels like spring here on Marathon Monday.

Read: Boston Marathon Guide

In true New England fashion, the weather isn’t always that cooperative. Over the decades, runners here in Boston have had to brave just about every imaginable extreme weather condition from snow squalls to downpours. In the last 10 years alone we have experienced a near rain-out (2007) when 2-4” of water fell the night before and an absolute scorcher (2012) with temperatures well into the 80s when tens of thousands elected to defer and run the following year.

weather21 Heat Will Be Number One Concern For Boston Marathon Runners

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Most marathon runners will tell you that they prefer dry and cool conditions. Temperatures in the 40s and 50s, mainly cloudy skies, and a nice tail wind (southwest for Boston). Unfortunately, it does not appear as though ideal weather conditions will be met this year. The good news, no major weather problems…no precipitation, no storminess. The bad news, it looks pretty warm for a 26.2 mile jog.

weather31 Heat Will Be Number One Concern For Boston Marathon Runners

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Let’s start with Easter Sunday. A cold front will be to our west most of the day, and under partly sunny skies, temperatures will soar to near 80 degrees! The front will approach late in the day, passing through overnight with perhaps a few showers or thunderstorms. Unfortunately, there is no immediate or dramatic cool down right behind it. The “cooler” air (50s) will stay well to our north on Monday, not reaching southern New England until Tuesday of next week. While Monday won’t be as warm as Easter, temperatures are still expected to be well into the 60s, perhaps near 70 for most of the race route under mainly sunny skies. There isn’t likely to be a cooling seabreeze as the runners near the coast this year either. Winds should be fairly brisk on Monday out of the west-northwest (12-25mph), more of a crosswind than a true tailwind.

weather11 Heat Will Be Number One Concern For Boston Marathon Runners

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Thankfully we won’t be anywhere near the dangerous heat that occurred back in 2012 when over 2,000 runners were treated for heat stroke. But, it appears as though the heat will be the number one concern for doctors and race officials this year once again. Running 26 miles at near 70 degrees will certainly lead to some heat-related problems. Those running this year should consult their doctors and be aware of the warning signs and best practices to avoid heat stress complications.

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