In a surprising twist to the Sydney Marathon 2023, early spring temperatures soared, leading to more than 25 participants being rushed to the hospital.
Several are now in critical condition, following the intense 42km race that saw over 17,000 runners braving the heat.
As the mercury touched 32C in parts of Sydney, the Bureau of Meteorology reported a sizzling 29.6C at their Sydney Harbour observation site. By the time the marathon kicked off at 7.30am, the temperature was already a balmy 20C, escalating to 24.3C by 9am.
Karl Braganza from the Bureau of Meteorology described the phenomenon as “a deep, deep column of warm air,” something usually witnessed in January.
NSW Ambulance was on high alert, treating 40 participants. “Out of these, 26 were transported to the hospital, with seven facing serious health concerns,” stated a spokesperson.
Private medical teams also stepped in, offering vital support throughout the event.
Highlighting the marathon’s popularity, this year’s participation more than doubled Australia’s previous record set in Melbourne 2019, which saw 8,100 runners.
In response to the unexpected heat, organisers had ramped up their support for the participants. They increased the water supply capacity throughout the course and provided misting stations, ice, and electrolytes.
With 20 water stations strategically placed, more than 400,000 cups of water were distributed, ensuring runners stayed hydrated during Australia’s biggest marathon.
Sydney Marathon 2023 Race Winners
Amidst the drama, Betsy Saina of the United States clinched a nail-biting victory in the Women’s Sydney Marathon, crossing the finish line in a commendable 2:26:47.
The race was a thrilling spectacle as Rahma Tusa Chota of Ethiopia was hot on Saina’s heels, finishing a mere six seconds later at 2:26:53 to claim silver. Kenya’s Gladys Chesir Kiptagelai rounded off the podium, securing bronze with a time of 2:28:41.
On the men’s front, Othmane El Goumri of Morocco etched his name in the annals of Sydney Marathon history. He raced to glory, securing gold with an impressive time of 2:08:20.
Not far behind, Kenya’s Laban Kipngetich Korir clinched silver, finishing the marathon in 2:08:43. Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla Tamire completed the top three, clocking in at 2:11:20.
The marathon’s route was a scenic journey that began in Milsons Point, crossed the iconic Harbour Bridge to Pyrmont, and then traced the harbour foreshore to Centennial Park.
From there, runners made their way back to the city via Oxford Street, eventually reaching the Royal Botanic Gardens and culminating at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Check Your Sydney Marathon 2023 Race Results
While the number of hospitalisations from this year’s marathon might seem alarming, it’s not unprecedented for large-scale marathons.
For instance, during the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon, where temperatures soared to 31 degrees, 36 people were hospitalised, and 150 received treatment on the sidelines.
A long-term study of the London Marathon, the world’s largest, indicates a hospitalisation rate of one person for every 787 runners.
This ratio is comparable to what was observed in Sydney on Sunday, considering both the main marathon and various other events.
As the adrenaline from the Sydney Marathon 2023 begins to subside, the moment has come to relive your journey and check out how you fared. Whether you sprinted, jogged, or walked, every step you took was a testament to your determination.
View your official Sydney Marathon 2023 race results now.