Pasadena runners brave heat wave for half marathon; 6 hospitalized

The Pasadena Half Marathon makes its way through Old Town, Sunday, June 30, 2013.
The Pasadena Half Marathon makes its way through Old Town, Sunday, June 30, 2013.
Courtesy of Katie Rodriguez

Six half-marathon runners have been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses as Southern California braced for another sizzling day.

Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian says the runners who required medical attention Sunday were extremely dehydrated and some experienced cramps "that could easily lead to heat stroke."

Officials said temperatures were in the 80s when the marathon began, and were in the 90s at its end. Adding to that was the residual heat generated from the sun's reflection off the pavement, which Derderian said contributed to runners' exhaustion. 

Derderian said 15 runners in total were evaluated along the route. Nine declined to be taken to the hospital.

Derderian said that the most seriously ill were several men in their 20s. The fire department had set up a cooling buses at the route's end, but fire officials warned against entering the buses immediately after completing the race.

"We did have cooling buses that are Pasadena Arts buses that were provided  for the runners. Those were full the entire time,'' Derderian said. "We just had to be cautious about a lot of the runners — in the excessive heat — we didn't want them to cool off too quickly, and put the body into shock."

Paramedics were deployed along the 13.1-mile race as well as bicycle police. The event was supposed to be a marathon but it was downgraded due to low turnout last year.

About 3,500 runners took part in the half-marathon, kid's run, 6.2K and 3.1K races that took place Sunday.

"So in perspective, when you put that with 3500 runners approximately today, the number we treated were not a large number in these conditions," said Derderian. "But a few of them were significant heat-related illnesses." 

Derderian added that those who participated in today's race should continue to stay hydrated even after they're done exercising, as they can experience cramping and other affects hours after the race ends.

The National Weather Service says valley and desert regions could experience their hottest days on Sunday.

Several Southern California communities set same-day record highs on Saturday including Palm Springs, where the mercury hit 122 degrees.