ATLANTA — Due to rising heat and humidity, a red alert was issued for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
The race began at 6:25 a.m. at a yellow alert, but was expected to upgrade as temperatures continue to rise. The yellow flag start meant participants were urged to use caution and be prepared for conditions to get worse.
The red alert meant there were potentialluy dangerous conditions, according to the event alert system.
"Factor in the humidity and it will FEEL more like the upper 90s and 100 degrees," Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls said Wednesday.
Hydration was key, and the Atlanta Track Club is urging participants to adjust their goals and pacing accordingly.
This year, the heat and the humidity will add to the challenge of completing the race, as it will feel like the low 90s toward the end of the race, Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Eboni Deon said.
"At the end, we'll be in the 80s, but the heat index could be in the 90s as the race comes to an end, Deon said.
Deon spoke to J. Holder, with the Atlanta Track Club, on Wednesday morning as he picked up his race number at the Georgia World Congress Center downtown.
He said that in order to deal with the July heat, the club changed the start time of the race to 7 a.m. last year, which made a huge difference in the number of participants who needed medical attention.
Daniel Fulcher said this year is his fourth time running the race.
“I have been running outside around 10 or 11 in the morning so that when I start at 7 a.m. it’ll be easier,” Fulcher said.
When it first started in the early 1970s, the race didn’t start until 9:30 a.m.
After nearly 10 years of that, doctors advised that an earlier morning start time would help to prevent heat illnesses.
Cox Media Group