Marathons and Climate Change

It’s that time of year again for the Boston Marathon. I read an interesting article, from UMass Lowell, about how students are monitoring weather during the marathon each year in order to characterize climatology of the race so they can survey how weather affects runners. It’s a science project for college students interested in weather–and one of the students, David Coe, is also interested in studying climate change after college. While weather does not equal climate change, studying runners’ performances in various climates can give us an idea of what to expect.

Another article I recently read, Climate Change, Dehydration, discusses warming temperatures, sweat, and dehydration among runners. I have noticed lately with warming temperatures that it is a struggle for me: being thirsty all the time, that is. I never used to carry water with me, but now I do–and it is not even really hot here yet, just mildly spring-like! Admittedly I am a weanie compared to a lot of runners, such as some on my Strava group. I run between 8-10 miles a week, and a handful in the group run over 50. Many more than that are regularly running marathons and half-marathons. Some have done crazy miles in Death Valley even. But it’s interesting always to see how weather can affect us. One of the girls in the group recently did the LA Marathon, which was very hot, and she was quite stressed about it.

I’ve been doing short mile and a half runs this week in preparation for the Vancouver Sun Run (10K) on Sunday. I have never run that far before, but want to do the best I can, with as little walking as possible. I am stressed for other reasons, mainly that I haven’t even run a 5K since Easter weekend, and since have done only short runs. I am feeling a struggle in the warmer weather, for sure.

Speaking of running in the Anthropocene, it isn’t just weather we outside runners should be concerned about, but other environmental hazards. Just today I was running along a little trail on a backroad when I came across the terrible fumes from some roofers. I had no way to really go around it, unless I crossed the street there (no crosswalk nearby), so just kinda held my breath. I don’t know what was happening, but these guys were on the roof and there was a sharp smell of oil or tar (or something similar) as well as the heat exhaust of a running truck. I don’t have asthma or allergies, but as I ran by this work zone, it was really annoying.

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