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Marathon heat could take toll

The warm spell is expected to continue today throughout Western New York, with temperatures eventually hitting 80 degrees. Therefore, you could call today's Buffalo Marathon something of a race to beat the heat.

The 26.2-mile race and its half-the-distance counterpart will get underway at 7 a.m. Conditions for the leaders should be less than ideal for the race, but at least the start will be shortly after the coolest time of the day. The winning time for the men's race often is somewhere around 2 hours and 30 minutes, with the top women finishing several minutes after that.

However, the rest of the field will be running for a longer time, so they'll be coping with the heat for substantially longer in some cases. In addition, slower runners are often inexperienced and more likely to have problems coping with the temperatures.

Race officials announced Friday the finish line will remain open past 1 p.m., or six hours after the start of the race. However, the course will be closed at that time. Runners will be asked to run on the sidewalks or on the side of the street -- wherever they feel safe. Extra water and ice will be handed out along the route to runners as well.

People who are driving around Buffalo this morning need to be aware of closure of streets until the race has finished in a particular area. Therefore, they should allot extra time if they will be in affected areas -- along the waterfront for the first half of the race, and on a route from downtown to North Buffalo and back in the second half.

email: bbailey@buffnews.com