The annual Tel Aviv marathon was brought to an early close after dozens of participants required medical attention amid unseasonably high temperatures on Friday.
The decision to call off the race, which was made some three hours before the event was to end, was taken after two runners collapsed and were taken to Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital in serious condition. The runners, both aged about 30, needed to be resuscitated. One was evacuated while under anesthesia and respiration.
Four other runners were hospitalized in moderate condition due to heatstroke. Magen David Adom emergency responders treated 85 injured runners overall, most of whom were suffering from light bruises and muscle pain.
Some 35,000 runners participated in the marathon, which was rescheduled to an earlier hour in the morning in anticipation of the heat wave which reached its peak later in the day.
The Tel Aviv municipality issued a statement saying that "despite the fact that the temperatures outside stand at only 21 degrees, the marathon production team has decided to stop the last dozens of participants in order to safeguard their health."
"We were called to a spot just before the end of the 10-kilometer race, where we found a man on his twenties who had collapsed," said paramedics Hila Neumann and Udi Glubstein.
"He was unconscious, wasn't breathing and had no pulse. We immediately began resuscitation procedures while transferring him to the Magen David emergency tent. Doctors and nurses managed to get back his pulse and his breathing, at which point he was evacuated to hospital."
Runner William Kiprono Yegon of Kenya broke the marathon record, crossing the finish line with the clock at 2:10:30. Second and third places were captured by Kenyan runners Joyce Kilimo and Munyeki Charles.
The first Israeli to cross the finish line was Ran Alterman, who completed the race in two hours and 37 minutes.
Major streets throughout Tel Aviv were closed for the race. Both Arkia and Israir airlines changed their domestic flight schedule due to the traffic disruptions.
Two years ago, a 29-year-old runner died and 12 other runners were hospitalized in serious condition as that marathon too coincided with unseasonably hot weather conditions. A decision to terminate the race was made – but only after the last batch of runners was started off on their way. The full marathon track was nixed, but all others were seen through to their end.
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