Takuboku Fureai Road Race in Morioka, Iwate on Sept. 10, a runner in his 60s collapsed midway through the 10 km race and died. The man was reported to have collapsed at a drink table 8.5 km into the race at around 11:15 a.m. Conditions at the race were hot and humid, and a large number of people dropped out. Although he was immediately treated with an AED and given CPR, the man was taken to the hospital under cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead.
At 10:00 a.m. on the day of the race, the temperature in Morioka was 29.5˚ with 77% humidity. In nearby Koma, the heat index, a measurement used in guidelines for preventing heatstroke, was 29.5, placing the area under a risk level of "high" with the guidelines warning people to avoid strenuous exercise.
A total of 1743 people started in the Takuboku Fureai Road Race, which featured divisions from 3 km to half marathon. Over 400 people dropped out midway due to the effects of the heat, and being unable to meet the checkpoint cutoff times. The race was called off around 11:30 a.m. Morioka Municipal Sports Bureau director Gen Hakoishi commented, "A lot of people were dropping out, so with the runners' safety in mind we made the decision to stop the race midway."
Asked for guidance on steps the average runner can take to avoid the risk of heat stroke, Prof. Tatsuya Kamihama of the Iwate University Department of Health and Physical Education said, "As the temperature increases, if you are not feeling well in any way the importance of not pushing yourself also increases." Prof. Kamihama also stressed the importance of hydration and being informed pre-race. "You sweat more than you would expect, so be sure to hydrate properly during the hour or two before you run. Get informed about the conditions and steps to take, and do more than what you think is necessary."
With record-breaking heat on the books throughout 2023, taking steps to mitigate the risk of heat stroke while running is more important that ever.
translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo © 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved