Most foot races take place early in the morning or at sunset, when temperatures start to lower — but not this race. The first-ever Beat the Heat race will begin at 2:47 p.m., the time when, on June 26, 1990, temperatures reached 122 degrees, the hottest recorded temperature the Valley has ever endured.
Temperatures were so high that day that 22 flights were canceled, two-thirds of the city’s bus fleet broke down and the soles of an airline worker’s shoes melted.
Scottsdale is giving runners the chance to prove they can beat Arizona’s scorching temperatures Saturday, June 22, 2013, at Westworld of Scottsdale with the 11.22-kilometer Beat the Heat race. A 5k will also be offered.
Jason Rose, co-founder and producer of the race, thought of the idea while attending a Scottsdale tourism meeting. During the meeting, people were discussing how to market Scottsdale during the summer, because most tourists are afraid of the high temperatures.
Looking to start a signature event for the season, Rose thought of using the heat to attract tourism to Scottsdale.
“Instead of making heat a deterrent, let’s make it inspiring,” he said.
The event came together when they thought of applying moments in Phoenix and racing history to the race.
The grand prize will be $1,990, referencing the year thermometers hit 122 degrees. Second prize is $1,957, referencing the year Scottsdale became a city, and third prize is $1,949, the year Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner was born.
First place will also include a two-night all-inclusive stay at Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer, which is valued at $1,200. Fourth through tenth places will also have prizes, from $826 — to recognize the date when the 10k world record was set in 2005 — to $92, the average number of 100-degree or higher days in Phoenix.
Response has been so positive, Rose said, that runners from four different states have signed up already, including famous athletes and world record holders David Goggins, Perry Edinger, Andrew Lemoncelle, Christopher Rutz and Keith Rieger.
Goggins, 33, was a Navy Seal and is now an ultramarathoner who holds the world record for most pull-ups, stopping at 4,021. He said the theme of the race interested him, and he knows how high temperatures can get in the Valley from previous visits to Arizona. One of the ways he is preparing is by doing light exercises in a sauna.
Rose recommends that people who want to participate consult with their doctor first.
Professional Medical Transport, the main sponsor of the race, will have ambulances and personnel on hand to provide medical assistance if needed.
Hydration stations will be located throughout the course every half-mile instead of the usual 2 miles.
Runners will start indoors in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at WestWorld, then are going to be briefly taken outside before passing through the large tent used for the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. After that, runners will go through the arenas and fields of WestWorld, pass through McDowell Mountain Golf Club and return to WestWorld to finish and be cooled down by sprinklers.
There will be entertainment and refreshments, a bar, music and, for the children, a large inflatable water slide.
The entry fee for the race is $62.60 per person. A VIP package is available for $122. For information, visit ScottsdaleBeattheHeat.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Beat the Heat race
When: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 2:47 p.m. (the same minute temps hit 122 degrees in 1990!)
Where: WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
• Abel, a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.