Sydney Marathon chaos as 26 runners hospitalized amid scorching heat and bushfire smoke
- 26 marathon runners hospitalized
- Heat and smoke take their toll
- READ MORE: Cities evacuated
Dozens of runners have been hospitalized after braving the Sydney Marathon in heatwave conditions.
At least 26 people were hospitalized as a record number of runners kicked off the biggest marathon in Australia’s history on Sunday, as temperatures peaked at 32C during the race.
Seven are in serious condition.
“As of 4pm on Sunday, NSW Ambulance treated 40 people who required medical attention during the Sydney Marathon,” a NSW Ambulance spokesperson said.
“Twenty-six patients were taken to hospital by ambulance, seven of whom were in serious condition. Private medical responders also provided support during the event.
It comes as crude video footage captured huge queues for toilets under the Harbor Bridge ahead of the iconic Sydney Marathon.
Record number of people take part in Sydney Marathon despite grueling conditions
Hot conditions for the Sydney Marathon forced more than 20 runners to be hospitalized.
A short video posted to X (formerly Twitter) captured huge queues for public toilets.
Despite concerns about scorching heat and haze of smoke, the weather remained mostly clear and did not affect athletes, event organizers said.
Moroccan Othmane El Goumri emerged victorious in the men’s race, with a time of 2:08:20.
The long-distance runner beat Kenyan Laban Korir and Ethiopian Getaneh Molla Tamire, second and third respectively.
Canberra-born runner Brett Robinson came in ninth place, with a clear time of 2:23:04.
Former Kenyan and now American runner Betsy Saina, who plans to compete in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, won the women’s race with a time of 2:26:47.
Ms Saine finished in just milliseconds ahead of Ethiopian Rahma Chota and Kenyan Gladys Kiptegai, who came third with a time of 2:28:41.
Australian Sinead Diver, who was reportedly struggling with injuries, finished eighth with a time of 2:31:27.
The marathon took place despite high temperatures predicted for Sydney amid a looming heatwave.
Marathon runners undeterred by high temperatures predicted for Sydney
Risk-reduction burning was suspended to ease the haze of smoke that enveloped the capital days before the major event.
Marathon race director Wayne Larden said organizers had installed an extra “drink station” and three ice stations in the middle of the course to help struggling athletes cope with the increasing heat.
“The safety and well-being of our participants is our top priority,” he said in a statement.
“We are working closely with key stakeholders, including the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), to ensure the highest safety standards are implemented.”
NSW Health executive director of health protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty urged people to take precautions given the recent increase in asthma attacks.
“Simple precautions can reduce the risk of heat-related illness. It’s important to not get overheated or dehydrated by minimizing physical activity outside during the day and staying well hydrated by drinking water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before drinking water,” Dr. McAnulty said.
“It’s best to try to avoid the heat of the day by staying indoors and closing curtains and blinds early. If you don’t have air conditioning, using a fan, wetting your skin with a sponge, spray, or towel soaked in water can help you stay cool.