Today was Beat the Heat, a 11.22K and 5K race with a cash prize purse in Arizona at 2:47 PM promoted as the “Hotest Race on Earth”. I have been asked by more than several individuals my true feelings about this race and if I honestly thought it was a smart idea. Most know I have raced all over the country and in all different weather conditions. I have had to be careful with what I have said as I certainly do not want to offend anyone.
We all have the right to our opinion and mine comes only from experience as an athlete and coach. I personally think that some aspects of this race pose a threat and risk. Anytime individuals are put into a race environment they can lose the ability to think clearly and listen to their bodies; and with the temperatures topping 100+ degrees, there is risk and danger associated with the conditions (whether or not there are ample aid stations or not). Also by attaching a large cash prize purse to this race in order to attract more participants and greater competition; it only results in competitors pushes themselves harder in borderline dangerous conditions, again most likely ignoring their bodies in order to go for the win. Trust me, I know the mentality of competitive distance runners.
I ran the Boston Marathon 2 years ago. Tamps were in the 90’s and the heat played a toll on many racers that day. I watched runner’s collapse on course, competitive runner’s running in the 3 hr marathon range. I myself was attempting 3:15 and hit a wall due to the heat, was smart and slowed down, and still ended up in the med tent after the race with a 105 body temp and 3 IV’s later was finally allowed to leave.
After speaking with a handful of Dr’s about their thoughts on this race 3 of the 5 thought the race was a terrible and risky idea. All 5 doctors are runners. The other 2 doctors thought the race should have been held at 6 AM and treated like a normal race would be with all festivities and the cash prize purse, etc. There comments, ” there is no point in trying to prove you can run in 100+ degrees, it is dangerous and not worth the risk”. Good point.
My point is that in this race and in future races I hope people listen to their bodies and not take stupid risks. Your health is so precious and can be taken so quickly, don’t do stupid stuff to risk it.
I will add, “many of us take our health for granted and might not be aware of an underlying medical issue, so why push the envelope doing something like this?” …. what does it really prove anyway???