Runners braved heat during Sunday’s half-marathon

Madison Marathon sold out; Half-marathon has openings

While many runners took to the roads to run the Madison Marathon’s half marathon, the weather definitely lived up to the steamy forecast on Sunday.

Madison Marathon organizers said they have no regrets about cancelling Sunday’s full marathon.

As it was, several runners who participated in Sunday’s half-marathon wound up in the hospital for heat-related illnesses.

Most, however, like Nory Koch, managed to complete the 13.1 mile race.

“I’m from Michigan, and two of our kids live in Wisconsin, so we come over here to be with them,” said Koch.

Nory Koch waited for his daughter-in-law after he finished the Madison half-marathon.

He said that he would have run the full marathon had it not been canceled, but he understands why organizers called it off.

“You’re already expending a tremendous amount of energy and even if you drink a lot while you’re out there and take care of yourself and train, the body just heats up that much,” said Koch.

But just because it was half as long, that didn’t mean the race was twice as easy this year.

That’s why observers like Tracy Schumitsch were there.

“I don’t know them but they put a lot of effort into this,” said Schumitsch. “They’re here, it’s hot, and I think it’s really beautiful what they’re doing.”

Schumitsch and others cheered the runners on through the heat, heat that not everyone was equipped to handle.

“We had 30 people in the tent today, and we had four people taken to the hospital,” said the marathon’s medical director David Bernhardt.

Bernhardt said a full 26.2 miles would have been downright dangerous.

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“If you have all of your ambulances and all your beds in the emergency room dedicated to treating runners who are sick from running the marathon, you don’t cover the rest of the population who needs medical care for other reasons,” said Bernhardt.

But most of the runners with their sights set on the finish line were able to push on, to the amazement of those who were sweating by just watching.

“I think a lot of people are out there running for people they know,” said Schumitsch. “And that’s really cool. Everyone’s doing the same thing but for different reasons.”

The medical staff at Sunday’s half-marathon said the people who needed treatment today had heat cramps, exhaustion, and dehydration.

They did not immediately know the conditions of those who had been taken to the hospital.

Officials said that about 4,500 people started the race.

Those who were going to run the marathon were automatically entered into the half-marathon, but organizers said that some decided not to run.