Heat concerns soar for Winnipeg’s unsheltered community, runners

While some beat the heat this weekend, others will be racing to beat their time at the Manitoba Marathon.

The annual Manitoba Marathon is scheduled for Sunday when temperatures will rise to a midday high of 35 degrees — that heat will make running difficult.

“I don’t think anybody is used to it this year at all,” said Running Room assistant manager Lynn Glowach in an interview with CTV News on Thursday. “I think everybody’s experience is going to be different.”

Glowach said people have been turning to them for advice in preparing for the heat. She is advising people take electrolytes during the race and not to push yourself in the heat.

“Don’t expect to break any records,” she said.

Lisa Gilmour, the City of Winnipeg emergency management coordinator, said “the marathon organizers do have really strong protocols in place and that they follow those regarding heat.”

The city will have two extra ambulances ready for the marathon, and two others on standby.

As temperatures heat up – so will cooling efforts across the city.

“Knowing this is the first real heat in the year and season it can have a more impact on your body because you’re not as used to the heat,” Gilmour said.

Gilmour is encouraging people to visit the splash pads and said facilities such as libraries will be open during regular hours.

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said people need to stay hydrated and out of the heat to protect themselves from illness.

“Everyone should take this quite seriously – especially those at increased risk,” Roussin said. “Nausea, fast heart rate, we could feel sometimes thirsty. I mean it can even be severe – feeling dizzy, confusion, unconsciousness and unfortunately even death.”

As the mercury rises, so does the risk for unsheltered people. Winnipeg’s unsheltered community should be keeping an eye out for signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

”We’re definitely going to have people huddling inside with the air conditioning,” said Luke Thiessen, Siloam Mission’s communications manager.

Siloam Mission is expecting more than 400 people to fill their drop-in center each day.

Thiessen is expecting the rest of the center and medical clinic to be just as busy.

“We have basic first aid and hygiene supplies to help with that, clothes for people, sunscreen, sunglasses. Anything to help people what’s going to be a really hot, sunny weekend,” Thiessen said.

This weekend, the Main Street Project will have people walking around its community, handing out water bottles. Main Street Project said this summer it is keeping its shelter open and outreach van running at all times.

Winnipeg is installing hydration stations across the city to keep people hydrated this summer at Selkirk Avenue at Powers Street, the Broadway Neighborhood Center and Central Park.

“The hydration stations the city is putting out are one of the examples we are trying to ensure water is in places it is not usually available,” Gilmour said.

The three new water stations are attached to fire hydrants to fill up your water bottle.

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