90-degree heat, humidity force cancelation of Twin Cities Marathon

Organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., called off the race early Sunday when forecasts indicated record-breaking heat of 90 degrees and high humidity. Photo courtesy of Twin Cities in Motion/X

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Record-breaking 90-degree temperatures predicted for Sunday prompted the organizers of the prestigious Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon to cancel the event, fearing for the safety of the participants.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., metro area set an all-time record high for Sept. 30 on Saturday, with the temperatures reaching 88 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the old mark of 87 set in 1897.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service for the Twin Cities had predicated that weather on Sunday would be the hottest all week with temperatures reaching record highs in the afternoon.

By Sunday night, the Twin Cities had posted a record 92 degrees, which is the warmest Minneapolis and St. Paul has been in October since 90 degrees was achieved in 1997 and 1928. It was also the hottest Oct. 1 since 87 degrees was reached back in 1897.

The average high temperature for the Twin Cities area during the first week of October is about 67 degrees.

Race organizer Twin Cities in Motion had previously posted "red flag" conditions calling for extreme caution during Sunday's race due to concerns about heat exhaustion, but at around 6 a.m. they posted a "black flag," meaning the race had been canceled.

Both a 10-mile event and the full marathon, which is considered one of the top urban marathons in the world, were called off in what organizers called a sad but necessary move. About 20,000 runners were expected to participate in the two events.

It marked the first time the race has been canceled due to weather since its inception in 1982.

"It saddens Twin Cities in Motion and its partners to be unable to hold the races that runners have been pointing toward for months, but the safety of participants and the community will always be our primary concern," the race committee said in a statement.

"Extreme heat conditions can tax both runners and our emergency response systems. We ask the entire running community to come together for the safety of everyone involved."

The announcement came as officials in New York City canceled the water portion of Sunday's triathlon over water quality concerns in the Hudson River as heavy rains late last week caused flooding in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Long Island.