Bellin Run boosts safety measures for Saturday’s heat
Participants, community asked to help
GREEN BAY – With the weekend weather forecast calling for temperatures reaching into the 90s, Bellin Run organizers are taking extra measures to ensure runners and walkers are safe from the heat.
“The intent of the Bellin Run is to encourage health and fitness in the community,” explained Executive Race Director Randy Van Straten. “So we’re going to take every step we can to keep participants safe in the heat. While they won’t be running a 26.2 mile marathon, a 10K can still be very challenging for many.”
More than 18,000 people are expected to run or walk the 36th annual Bellin Run this Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 70s when the starting gun sounds at 8 a.m., rising as the race progresses.
“Monitoring the weather leading up the event is an annual process. When we saw the weather forecast calling for possible high temperatures in the low 90s, we immediately started meeting and reviewing our detailed operational and medical plans,” Van Straten said. “As a result, we have beefed up our efforts in a number of areas.”
This includes: Establishing a color coded course alert system.
Green is a low level alert meaning conditions are good, but participants should stay alert for changes.
Yellow is a moderate alert level indicating less than ideal, but not dangerous, conditions. Runners/walkers should dress appropriately, adjust their pace and be prepared for changing conditions.
Red is high alert, meaning potentially dangerous conditions exist. Participants are asked to adjust their pace, observe any course changes and proceed with caution or consider stopping.
Black is an extreme alert that will only be issued if conditions are dangerous and the event is cancelled. If that happens, the timing mats will be turned off and no results will be reported after that point. Everyone will be asked to stop running and then walk to the nearest aid station.
“We are implementing this color coding system as of today. The signs will be posted at the start line and at every water station on the route,” explained Bellin Run Medical Coordinator Roland Schmidt. “To educate participants, the alert signs will be posted in the registration and packet pick-up tent on Friday night. We’re also educating participants through our website, email blasts and social media channels.”
- Increasing pre-race water and beverages at stations in Baird Place Park and Astor Park.
- Water stations will begin at the 2 mile mark; there are a total of 5 water stations on the course. Each station will have 24 tables, and 3 cups of water per participant (an increase from the standard 1.25 cups per participant per station). Each water station will also have medical personnel available.
- Ice stations are being added to all water stations. Nearly 6 tons of ice will be distributed and will be available immediately following the water stations.
- There will be a misting station on the route, around the 4.25 mile mark at Allouez Plaza.
- The medical tent will be staffed with 75 medical professionals who are volunteering for the event.
What happens if the conditions become unsafe? “We have a command center on site that coordinates emergency medical services, public safety and first responders, as well as race leadership,” explained Schmidt. “If the race needs to be postponed, called, or shorted to a 5K run, it will be a mutual decision based on the facts we have at that time. It’s not something anyone wants to happen, but you have to put safety first.”
Runners Need to Prepare
Along with the additional preparations for the heat, Bellin Run organizers are asking for help from participants and the community. “First and foremost, participants should be well hydrated,” explained Schmidt. “Starting right now, they need to begin hydrating and stay that way through the race. Hydration can make the difference in your ability to complete a race.”
Along with hydration, runners/walkers should:
- Wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing; preferably something that wicks moisture. Do not wear the cotton shirt that comes with the registration package. Save it for after the race.
- Bring a beverage with you to the start area. Walkers, carry water with you on the course.
- Turn down personal listening devices. It will help you be more aware of your breathing and allow you to hear instructions from public safety officers and course officials
- Pay attention to how you feel. If you’re lightheaded, can’t catch your breath or something else doesn’t feel right, stop or slow down. Seek help from anyone in a green shirt (volunteers), the police, medical personnel on bikes who will be wearing red shirts, or the medical personnel at every water station.
- Have realistic expectations. If you have not trained in high temperatures and are not highly conditioned, don’t try to set a personal best record.
- If you have underlying health conditions that may be impacted by the heat, consider not participating this year. If you do not participate but still would like your Bellin Run T-shirt, email your request to email@example.com and it will be mailed to you.
The Community Can Help
The final piece of preparation for the heat involves the Bellin Run neighbors. “We have a great group of neighbors all along the course,” said Van Straten. “Year after year they turn out to cheer on the runners and walkers. This year, we are asking them to help keep our participants safe in the heat.”
If you live along the course, you’re asked to:
- Put out a garden hose or sprinkler for participants to run/walk through.
- If you see a person fall or in distress, notify the nearest volunteer or call 911.
Volunteers are also needed for race day. “We generally have about 1,200 volunteers. With the heat, we’d like to increase that number a bit. If anyone is interested in race day volunteering, you can sign up at bellinrun.com or contact volunteer coordinator Selys Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Van Staten.
Van Straten summed up the heat-beating efforts by saying, “The bottom line for Saturday’s race is safety. We are ready for the heat, but you never know how it’s going to play out. We hope morning temperatures will be cool enough not to hinder the participants and that everyone – participants, volunteers and the community – has a great time.”