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Eric Peterson, Published May 18 2013

High humidity took health toll on many runners in Fargo Marathon events

FARGO – A combination of sunshine and humidity made Saturday a busy day for medical workers at the Fargo Marathon.

“It started out nice and cool for us with the rain,” said Ken Krupich, director of operations for F-M Ambulance. “As soon as that sun popped out, we started having heat-related illnesses.”

Sonya Drechsel, Fargo Marathon’s medical organizer, said her staff treated about 80 runners at the finish area in the Fargodome. Drechsel said that number was a little higher than previous years. Five of those runners were sent to the emergency room.

“We had really high temperatures on patients,” said Drechsel, an ER nurse for Fargo’s Sanford Health who has worked at every Fargo Marathon. “We went through more IV fluids than I have ever gone through.”

Krupich said 19 people were taken to Fargo hospitals Essentia or Sanford.

“This was a busy year for us,” Krupich said.

Krupich said high body temperatures were the biggest issue. Some runners had a core temperature as high as 108 degrees, he said.

“That was very concerning.” Krupich said.

Krupich added that between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. was the busiest time frame for his staff.

The relative humidity was 89 at 7 a.m. when the 10K started. The half-marathon started at 7:30 a.m. and the full marathon at 8:15 a.m. The temperature got as high as 79 degrees by 3 p.m., which was about the time the course officially closed.

“The humidity is so high and no one is acclimated,” Drechsel said.

Temperatures and relative humidity during Saturday's Fargo Marathon events:

7 a.m. – Temp: 59, RH: 89

8 a.m. – Temp: 59, RH: 89

9 a.m. – Temp: 61, RH: 87

10 a.m. – Temp: 64, RH: 87

11 a.m. – Temp: 68, RH 81

Noon – Temp: 71, RH 78

1 p.m. – Temp: 74, RH 71

2 p.m. – Temp: 77, RH 61

3 p.m. – Temp: 79, RH 56

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513. Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com