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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
Chicago shrugs off marathon mess
By Will Grant
BBC News

Fire engine sprays runners in Chicago marathon
Fire hoses were used in an effort to keep runners cool
Organisers of the Chicago marathon have denied that problems which caused the race to be cut short will damage the city's bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Runners have accused the organisers of Sunday's race of failing to provide enough water to cater for the thousands of entrants or the high temperatures.

Some runners had to buy drinks in shops or cool off in public fountains.

The Chicago 2016 committee called the race unique and unfortunate but said their Olympic bid would not be hit.

Collapsed

Having trained for months to prepare for the marathon, thousands of runners in Chicago were left disappointed and angry on Sunday.

With the temperature over 30C and a serious shortage of water at the drinks stations, the race was shut down after three-and-a-half hours.

The marathon organisers say the faster competitors were using water to douse themselves as well as to drink, leaving nothing for the runners that followed.

Dozens of runners collapsed on the roadside, many of them were hospitalised and one man died, although it was later revealed that he had an unrelated heart condition.

Fire hydrant sprays runners in Chicago marathon
Organisers were accused of providing too little water

Since Sunday the organisers have faced a barrage of criticism, with some athletes accusing them of not catering properly for the extreme temperatures or the quantity of competitors.

The organisers deny this, saying they had increased the number of drinks accordingly, to 1.8 million servings rather than 1.6 million.

The question now being asked is if the debacle will have wider implications, by damaging Chicago's chances of hosting the summer Olympic Games in 2016.

The city's Olympic committee says it won't, arguing that lessons have been learned and that the Olympic marathon field involves just 200 elite athletes, not the 35,000 entrants in Sunday's race.



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