Wed February 28, 2024

By Press Release


Little Rock Marathon officials move Sunday race start time back to mitigate heat, humidity risk to athletes participating

Little Rock Marathon Earlier Start Time High Heat & Humidity
Little Rock Marathon officials move Sunday race start time back to mitigate heat, humidity risk to athletes participating
(Little Rock, Ark. – February 28, 2024) – Officials with the Little Rock Marathon announced Wednesday an earlier start time for the 2024 race to help mitigate the risks high heat and humidity pose to the thousands of athletes anticipated on the course this weekend.

Race Director Mike Garrity said moving the race’s start time from 8:00 am to 6:00 am would be the best option to ensure a safe and positive race environment for the athletes.

Garrity said Sunday’s races will start under EAS Yellow conditions. EAS conditions are based on a very clear Wet Bulb Globe Temperature threshold that must be followed in concert with the ability to support a safe event.

In an email to all registered participants, LRM Race Officials said that while the likelihood of a cancellation appears low, if cancelling or modifying the race is required based upon sporting event industry best practices and safety protocols considering weather conditions, that decision will be made at any time conditions dictate.

This will be the first time in the race’s 22-year history that the start time has been modified, LRM Executive Director Geneva Lamm said, noting that during last year’s race, officials raised the EAS alert level on course to Red due to unseasonably warm and humid conditions.

New start times for this Sunday are:

·        Marathon Early Start – moved from 6:00 to 5:30 am

·        Wheelchair, Handcycle, Physically Challenged Athlete – moved from 7:55 to 5:55 am

·        Marathon and Half Marathon – moved from 8:00 to 6:00 am

Garrity said that additional safety measurements and enhancements have been made to the Race’s 13 water and aid stops along Sunday’s route, including:

·        Extra water in the Start corrals

·        Extra water at refreshment and aid stations

·        Cooling towels and ice buckets at on course aid stations for athletes experiencing heat stress

·        Extra water in the Finish Line area, as well as the addition of cooling misting stations

He stressed that teams from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will be stationed along the route as usual, but that athletes can expect to see a larger presence of medical personnel at these stations and at the finish line. Garrity said paramedics on bikes will be on course as well with first aid supplies.

Race officials said during Wednesday’s press conference that participants should expect additional communication regarding weather conditions and the safety status of Sunday’s events by 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 2.