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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Mostafa Rachwani

Sydney marathon runners warned about heat as above average warmth affects south-east Australia

A smoke haze over the Sydney skyline at sunset
Temperatures were set to hit 30C in Sydney and 24C in Melbourne on an unseasonably warm weekend across Australia’s east coast. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Marathon runners are expected to swelter on Sunday, with temperatures again set to hit 30C in Sydney on an unseasonably warm weekend across the east coast.

More than 17,000 runners has registered for the Sydney Marathon, the most runners it has ever hosted and making it the largest marathon in the country. But the event coincides with a surge of heat that is expected to see temperatures between 10C and 12C above average in Sydney until Tuesday night.

Melbourne was also facing above-average warmth, with a forecast maximum of 24C on Sunday. Temperatures were expected to be between 6C and 8C above average.

Temperatures maxed out at 30C in Sydney on Saturday, only 4C below the September record. In Melbourne, the mercury peaked at 23C, still 6C above the monthly average.

In Brisbane, temperatures reached 26C, while Adelaide experienced an unseasonably warm 28C.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast the warm weather to remain until at least midweek, with the senior meteorologist Dean Narramore saying a high-pressure system has brought the heat.

“The temperatures will stay above average until around Tuesday, when we’ll see a cold front moving through, which will bring some relief by Wednesday the latest,” Narramore said.

“A very large and a very slow-moving high-pressure system out in the Tasman Sea has been directing north to north-westerly winds across much of south-eastern Australia.”

Narramore said the cooler night temperatures meant it was not technically considered a heatwave in Sydney or Melbourne, but added that inland New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia were looking at historically warm September weather.

“We could see numerous locations approaching or maybe even exceed their September records, particularly in south-eastern parts around the alpine areas, Wagga Wagga, and well north of Adelaide as well.”

While the full Sydney Marathon race was due to commence at 5.45am, the majority of runners were due to complete the race by 2pm, when the mercury was set to peak for the day.

Organisers said they had been working closely with the Rural Fire Service to review burning activity and expected that forecast winds were set to improve air quality for the event.

The race director, Wayne Larden, said organisers had consulted “extensively” with key stakeholders, including NSW Health, the BoM and the RFS to ensure the safety of runners.

“Sydney Marathon is committed to delivering a world-class, safe event for participants on Sunday,” he said.

The marathon’s medical director, Hugh Singe, advised participants to ensure they were hydrated, wear appropriate clothing and to seek medical attention when necessary.

“If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, or your skin is clammy and abnormally hot or cold, slow down or stop running,” he said.

Despite the above-average warmth, Narramore said the weather should not be seen as an early beginning of summer, with temperatures expected to fall later in the week.

“With that cold front we’re going to see temperatures return to more typical springtime weather, and could even bring some snow to the mountain areas on Wednesday and Thursday as well,” he said.

“This is very normal for spring – we have a hot day then a cold day.”

It also comes after an AFLW game in western Sydney was delayed after a snake was spotted sunbathing on the field.

The red-bellied black snake appeared to be taking advantage of the hot weather, causing a 30-minute delay before a snake handler safely dealt with the intruder.

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