Runners set to sweat in 'Hottest Race on Earth'

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Officially called Scottsdale Beat the Heat, it’s billed as the "Hottest Race on Earth" and it takes place on June 22, in honor of a Valley day back in June of 1990 which reached a record-setting 122 degrees.

Linda Knutson, a former Mesa firefighter remembers that day 23 years ago. When the temps soared, so did the calls for heat-related illness.

“We’re looking at heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and the whole gamut of problems that can happen when the temperatures get that high,”Knutson said,

But now, Knutson is one of the hundreds of people signed up for Scottsdale Beat the Heat, an 11.22 kilometer race scheduled for June 22, starting at 2:47 p.m., the heat of the day.

Co-founder Jason Rose says almost 1,000 people have signed up so far, representing more than a dozen states.  Rose says he hopes the first-ever run will become a signature event and attract visitors to the Valley despite soaring temperatures.

When asked whether he’s worried about heat-related illness and liability, he told 3TV a number of precautions are being taken.

“Safety is a major concern,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough to have Professional Medical Transport EMTs, the emergency-services provider for Scottsdale to be our title sponsor, and we’re encouraging people to consult with their doctors, and we’re taking some extraordinary steps on site to combat any heat exhaustion and illness.”

Rose says runners will need to sign waivers.  A conference call is scheduled for Tuesday morning between runners and a doctor to talk about safety.

“The people run, I hope they’re serious runners; I hope they’re people who understand how hot it’s going to be,” said Knutson, who now works as a physician assistant.  “It’s a matter of getting hydrated for a couple of days beforehand.”

Knutson says she will also prepare by running in the afternoon, so she knows what it will feel like at the time of the race. 

“I love running in the heat,”she said.

However, other runners told 3TV they know their limits and will sit this one out.  They worry about stressing their bodies or making themselves sick.

“I have a lot of friends saying, ‘You’re crazy,’ Knutson admits.  She, however, will be running to raise money for Help to Others, which raises money for seniors in need and the homeless, two groups that need extra help in the heat.

“If people are prepared for it, I think it will go well,” Knutson.

For more information, check out ScottsdaleBeatTheHeat.com.