For the fourth time in the last six years, organizers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will have to cope with warmer than normal conditions, according forecasts published by both local and national sources.
"Just a sneak peak at the marathon weather, it might be a little warm for some runners," local meteorologist Steve Baskerville told his viewers last night on KORD, the local CBS affiliate. Baskerville's forecast called for cloudless skies and temperatures of 65°F (18°C) at 7:00 a.m., 30 minutes before the start. He said temperatures would warm to 70°F (21°C) by 10:00 a.m., about the time the women's winner will cross the finish line, and 75°F (24°C) by noon when the slower recreational runners will be finishing.
The forecasters at Weather.com concurred with Baskerville, noting that the average high temperature for Oct. 9, is 66°F (19°C), perfect for marathon running.
Weather at the nation's second largest marathon has varied greatly in recent years. In 2006, runners had to contend with near-freezing conditions, but one year later the weather was decidedly hot: 77°F (25°C) at start and 80°F (27°C) when the first man finished. Executive race director Carey Pinkowski was forced to halt the race with 3:50 on the race clock because of the heat.
Conditions were also warm in 2008 --64°F (18°C) at the start and 70°F (21°C) when the first man finished-- but very cold again in 2009: 36°F (3°C) at the start and windy. Last year's race was held in warm conditions again: 67°F (19°C) at the start, rising to 73°F/23°C at the finish.
After dealing with the unusually warm weather in 2007 when the race ran short on water, Pinkowski and his operations chief Mike Nishi and medical director Dr. George Chiampas demonstrated an exceptional level of readiness in advance of the 2008 race. Pinkowski's team had plenty of water on hand (fluid stations still had water left after the last runners had passed). At the front, Kenya's Evans Cheruiyot wasn't bothered by the heat, and ran a personal best 2:06:25 in only his second marathon.
"The guys were aggressive and went after it," Pinkowski said after that race. He added: "That's what the spirit of this event is about."