TEL AVIV, Israel -- Tragedy struck the Tel Aviv marathon on Friday when one participant collapsed and died of heatstroke. Thirty-four were hospitalized for dehydration and other heat-related injuries during the marathon, and a total of 80 needed some type of medical treatment.
Earlier this week, the Tel Aviv municipality postponed the full Marathon and announced plans to finish all the shorter races before 8:30 a.m., when temperatures would be well on their way to predicted highs of 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 Fahrenheit). Israel is experiencing unusually high temperatures for this time of year.
The 30-year-old runner, a reserve officer in the Israel Defense Forces, was pronounced dead at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, where doctors are treating 12 others in serious condition, four on respirators, Israel Radio reported.
A statement released by the Tel Aviv municipality said the deceased runner began the race at 6 a.m. and began receiving medical treatment at 8 a.m., meaning he ran during "light heat."
"The Municipality acted in accordance with Health Ministry directives and in cooperation with Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, both of which recommended canceling the full marathon but going through with the half race, exactly as we did," the statement read.
Teams of Magen David Adom paramedics stationed along the route treated close to 50 runners, several collapsing and fainting.
About 35,000 runners took part in this morning's half Marathon, with an estimated 150,000 cheering them on along the way.
On Thursday evening, the municipality closed main streets in preparation for the annual event, which attracts thousands of participants every year.