One man has died and 30 more have been hospitalized at the Tel Aviv Marathon in Israel on Friday morning.
Temperatures soared from the mid-20’s to over 30 C within the first couple of hours of the race.
The start time was pushed back 30 minutes due to concerns about the heat, but that did not seem to improve matters, particularly for slower runners that spent a large portion of their race in the intense, dry heat.
Last week, the Tel Aviv Marathon’s organizers decided to push their race back by a week in order to avoid what was being forecasted. Winter is just coming to an end in the region, and temperatures had been relatively low for some time, leaving runners little opportunity to acclimatize to the heat.
NBC has reported that the man who has died was in his 30’s. Four others have been put in medically induced comas in order to treat heat stroke and extreme dehydration.
Organizers of the race said that 60 people were treated by medical staff, with 30 transported to hospitals. Initially, 12 people were in critical condition, but the 10 have seen their status improve as of Friday afternoon.
Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv, did hold a meeting in advance of the race to discuss their options, but decided to allow the event to go on after consulting with medical officials.
“We will investigate and examine the event thoroughly and we will reach conclusions and learn the necessary lessons,” Huldai said to reporters on Friday. “We will also cooperate fully with any investigation that will occur regarding this matter.”