The prospect of high heat and motivated marathoners has prompted the Boston Athletic Association to offer their 26,700 starters a chance to defer running till next year’s marathon.
“Knowing that people who are here will run, we just wanted to reinforce that it will be very warm,” said BAA media man Jack Fleming. “This will allow them to defer till next year when they pick up their race number.”
Accordingly, the BAA issued the following statement to its entrants.
Due to the unusually warm weather forecast for the Boston area on Monday, the B.A.A. will defer the entry of those official entrants to the 2013 Boston Marathon for participants who decide not to race.
This applies to official entrants only who either have claimed or will claim their bib number packet at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo through Sunday evening at the Seaport World Trade Center in South Boston. Runners must claim their bib number for deferment to be an option.
In order to receive a deferment for 2013, race participants may not start the race. No refund for the 2012 entry will be given. All entry fees for 2013 must be paid.
In addition, the B.A.A. will keep the finish systems open an additional hour on race day until approximately 6:00 p.m.
Conditions for Monday’s 116th Boston Marathon are now forecast to spike into the mid-80sF, dangerous conditions for even well-trained qualified marathoners. Months of preparation actually conspire to push runners past their limits, especially when they are running amongst like-minded Type-A competitors.
The last time Boston saw such high heat was in 2004 when temperatures only ranged from 83F at the start to 86F at the finish. Kenya’s Timothy Cherigat won that year in 2:10:37. The women’s race was won by Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba in 2:24:27 over Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia by sixteen seconds. Both women were badly cramping by the finish.
New York A.C. Wingfoot editor James O’Brien will man the Universal Sports lead men’s vehicle for Monday’s national tv coverage. It will be James’ first ride out on the Boston course. I told him he’d have a blast, especially on a warm weather day when the crowds would be supers-sized, and get more and more raucous as the distance built up.
“You really can’t control the crowds if they don’t want to be controlled,” former race director Will Cloney once told me during the height of the running boom.
And I also recall returning to my apartment on Beacon Street up near Cleveland Circle (22 ½ mile on the marathon route) after one warm Boston Marathon only to find a half-empty bottle of vodka sitting disconsolate on a table by the side of the middle of the road. The cretinism can get pretty competitive along the route, especially at Cleveland Circle where the Boston College crowd tends to hang out.
Another consequence of the heat is the qualifying standards for Olympic eligibility. The Olympic A standard for men is 2:15, for women 2:37. But the IAAF, the international governing body for the sport takes into consideration the heat in marathons.
The first 20 runners in the Men’s Marathon and in the Women’s Marathon in the World Championships in Daegu (South Korea, 2011) and the top 10 finishers at the IAAF Gold Label Marathons in 2011 and 2012 (held during the qualifying period) will also be considered as having achieved the “A” qualifying standard.
“Competition takes precedent over time,” explained David Katz, a member of the IAAF technical committee which wrote the rule. On Monday David will once again be a technical consultant at Boston working the finish line in the Back Bay.