Bellin Run Announces Heat Safety Plan
Extra water, ice available; neighbors asked to assist with sprinklers & hoses
With Saturday’s 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,” said 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 marathon, a 10K can still be very challenging for many individuals.”
Upwards of 17,000 people are expected to run or walk the 40th annual Bellin Run this Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to be in the 70s when the starting gun sounds at 8 a.m., rising as the race progresses.
“Monitoring the weather leading up to the event is an ongoing process,” Van Straten said. “We plan months in advance for any situation, including hot weather, and we have detailed operational and medical contingencies. Now it’s a matter of implementing what we’ve outlined.”
• 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 water stations three and four. Nearly 6 tons of ice will be distributed and will be available immediately following the water stations.
• We will have five misting station locations — on East River Drive and East St. Joseph Street, in the finish chute and two in Astor Park.
• There will be 75 volunteer medical professionals stationed at the medical tent and throughout the course.
In addition, race officials are encouraging participants to be aware of the color-coded Bellin Run Emergency Alert System, which will keep them informed of course conditions on race day. Signs with the current course conditions will be posted at the start line and at each water station along the course. The system indicates conditions as follows:
- 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 canceled. 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.
Given the current forecast, race organizers plan to start Saturday’s event at a yellow-level alert.
What happens if the conditions become unsafe? “We have an Incident Command Center on site that coordinates emergency medical services, public safety and first responders, as well as race leadership,” said Bellin Run Medical Coordinator Roland Schmidt. “If the race needs to be postponed, called, or shortened 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.”
The Bellin Run Incident Command Center includes race officials, Green Bay and Allouez police, fire and rescue personnel; Brown County Sheriff’s Department officials and representatives from area hospitals. These individuals meet throughout the year to discuss and refine contingency plans and complete tabletop emergency exercises involving a variety of scenarios.
Runners Need to Prepare
Along with the additional course preparations for the heat, Bellin Run organizers are reminding participants to take an active role in their own race day safety. “First and foremost, participants should be well-hydrated,” Schmidt said. “Starting right now, they need to begin hydrating and stay that way through the event. 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. This year’s race shirt is a great choice.
• 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 powder-blue volunteer shirt, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be mailed to you.
• Make sure you sign up for RaceSafe to ensure prompt and secure access to your medical information in case of emergency.
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,” Van Straten said. “Year after year they turn out to cheer on the runners and walkers – and this year in particular, we’re asking them to help our participants stay safe.”
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 and tell the dispatcher you’re on the Bellin Run course. These calls will be routed directly to the Bellin Run Incident Command Center to ensure the fastest possible response.
“The Bellin Run is all about community, and preparing for a warmer-than-normal race day is no exception,” Van Straten said. “Working together, we can ensure we meet our primary goal – keeping our participants safe on race day.”
The 40th annual Bellin Run will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 11. Visit bellinrun.com for more information.