Race organisers in Tel Aviv will be regretting their decision to stage Friday's (15 March) half marathon after cancelling the full marathon because of predicted temperatures in the 90s (30s celcius). Despite a start in darkness and completion before 9.30am local time, there was one death and dozens of casualties, many requiring hospital treatment. Heatstroke and de-hydration caused most of the problems.
The runner who died was Michael Michaelovitch, a 29-year-old sergeant in the Israeli army. Michael was reportedly an experienced runner who had trained thoroughly for the race. Friends said he was in excellent shape and used to running 20 kilometres a day. Michael collapsed after finishing the race and was rushed to hospital but emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate him.
Four other runners were taken to the hospital and were placed in medically-induced comas and on respirators. 15 runners were still being treated at Tel Aviv area hospitals yesterday afternoon.
Temperatures were in the 70s at the start of the half marathon but quickly reached the 90s, even though organisers moved the start to 5:45 am.