Chicago Marathon canceled after hot temperatures

by Anthony Ponce
WMAQ News

Dangerous heat forced the cancellation of the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

More than 300 runners were taken to hospitals and one runner died: 35-year-old Chad Schieber of Midland, Michigan.

The temperature reached 88 degrees, a record for the race.

But the heat wasn't the only complaint runners say there wasn't enough water.

The 30th running of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon started off like any other year, and finished normally for the front of the pack.

But for thousands of others running a slower pace this year was anything but normal.

Runner Janice Grapenthien says, "people were just collapsing everywhere. I've never seen anything like this."

At 11:35am officials called off the race.  Just beyond the halfway point runners were told to walk directly back to Grant Park.

Ray Orozco of the Chicago Fire Department says, "that's why we called it off, because we started to see what had the potential to be a rapid increase in the heat index."

But angry runners who trained for months to complete the 26.2 mile course say the big reason people were collapsing wasn't just the heat. But because there wasn't enough water.

Janice Grapenthien says, "they were running short on cups so a lot of people were just drinking water with their hand,s and we got to a point where there was no water at all. It was about around mile 14."

Race officials called a news conference at 2:30 calling the so-called water shortage quote "isolated incidents," and insisting there were fluids at every water station.

Carey Pinkowski the Marathon Executive Director says, "the initial feedback we've gotten from our coordinators that there was adequate fluids at all of our locations."

But every runner we talked to near mile 17 complained of a systematic water shortage.

Janice Grapenthien says, "I just don't think they were prepared, because I don't think they realized how hot it was going to be, and how much water they needed. Um, so they just weren't really prepared."