THE latest round of the International Women’s Marathon Championship went ahead this morning despite gruelling conditions.
Race organisers decided to go ahead with the event in Doha even though temperatures were in excess of 32 degrees Celsius with nearly 75% humidity.
The event was scheduled at midnight local time to minimise the effects of the intense heat but the blanket of darkness did nothing to quash the intense temperatures.
Of the 68 starters, 28 withdrew with many feeling the strain after only kilometre 10 of the race.
Amongst the runners who withdrew were Brit Charlotte Purdue and winner of the previous Tokyo marathon Haji Adillo Roba.
Many competitors had to be taken to medical centres to treat them from exhaustion but thankfully no athletes experienced severe heat stroke.
The eventual winner, Kenyan runner Ruth Chepngetich completed the course in a record slowest time of 2h:32.43.
After the race she explained her training regime that prepared her for the tough conditions.
“It was a tough race but I knew what to expect as I ran in Dubai, I trained for this weather running in the afternoon when the sun was high.”
The only Spaniard in competition, Marta Galimany also withdrew as the heat took its toll and had to be transferred to the medical centre.
Earlier in the day, the IAAF confirmed that the event would go ahead with an “acceptable level of risk” to the runners health.
This decision led to anger amongst the athletes, “It’s disrespect towards the athletes. A bunch of high-ranked officials gathered and decided that it would take the championships here but they are sitting in the cool and they are probably sleeping right now,” exclaimed Belarus runner Volha Mazuronak.