Hundreds require medical attention during steamy Montreal half-marathon

Almost 900 people received medical attention as 10-kilometre and half-marathon events took place in Montreal under blazing heat, the event’s medical co-ordinator said Sunday.

The shorter events were still held even after organizers of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon cancelled the full 42.2-kilometre run due to concerns over high heat and humidity.

The half-marathon started at 7:30 a.m., an hour earlier than previously scheduled, to avoid the hottest time of day. 

Eddy Afram, the medical co-ordinator, said the number of interventions was higher than usual, but still in line with the organizers’ expectations given the temperature, which surpassed 30 C by Sunday afternoon.

In comparison, Afram said about 500 to 600 people are usually treated when temperatures are between 15 and 18 C.

Ten ambulances were deployed along the race route and firefighters sprayed runners with water to help them beat the unseasonable heat.

About 20 people were transported by ambulance to a medical tent and one person to hospital, Urgences-Santé said.

The condition of the runner who went to hospital is not being made public.

Dr. François De Champlain, the marathon’s medical director, said hot days strain runners. The medical team saw people suffering from cramps, dehydration and even some runners collapsing after reaching the finish line, he added.

21 km in about an hour

The half-marathon was won by Kenyan Daniel Gekara with a time of one hour, seven minutes and 56 seconds.

Ethiopians Dadi Beyene and Wendimu Adamu were right behind him, crossing the finish line 10 and 20 seconds later respectively.

About 14,500 people ran in the half-marathon.

About 30,000 were registered for one of the races this weekend before the marathon was cancelled.

Start of 5 k.m.

A runner with a Mexican flag gets a fist bump from another runner at the start of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Oasis five kilometre race on Saturday. (Radio-Canada)

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