Warm, humid weather tests marathon winners

Kayleigh Williamson, 26, made history as the first person with Down syndrome to finish a race in the Austin Marathon Feb. 19, 2017. (Courtesy/Austin Marathon presented by NXP)
Kayleigh Williamson, 26, made history as the first person with Down syndrome to finish a race in the Austin Marathon Feb. 19, 2017. (Courtesy/Austin Marathon presented by NXP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Thousands of runners endured record-breaking heat and high humidity Sunday to participate in this year’s Austin Marathon.

The temperature at the starting line – in the upper 60s – was the hottest it’s been in more than 20 years and kept the race medical team busy. The temperature rose into the 70s later during the race.

University of Texas alum Joe Thorne crossed the finish line first to win the men’s title with a time of two hours, 32 minutes and six seconds and said the weather definitely impacted his performance.

Allison Macsas took the top spot for women, earning her first-ever marathon win. She completed the race in two hours, 48 minutes and 17 seconds.

Both top athletes said the heat did a number on their body.

“The course was already going to be a tough one,” Macsas said. “But for me, this is about as bad as it gets for conditions. I have a really hard time with humidity.”

But, she said she was pleased with her performance.

“Given the weather, I’m happy with it. It was probably the hardest race I’ve ever ran,” Macsas said. “It was pretty brutal. It did what I knew it would do, which is creep up on me. I think I went out a little faster than I probably should have, but I think the weather was going to get me in the end regardless so I’m happy I banked a little on the front end.”

For Thorne, pushing through the final part of the race took persistence.

“The weather was a challenge, especially later on in the late stages and it started to show. I was coming unraveled and it started to show in the legs and in the body. I wanted to run and try to run steady.”

Another big winner for the day was Kayleigh Williamson. The 26-year-old made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish the race.

She tackled the half marathon and exhibited amazing endurance during her running time of six hours, 22 minutes and 57 seconds.

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