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With 80s forecast, top marathoner downplays record hopes Sunday

A fire truck sprays water on marathon participants during the 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007, in Chicago. Organizers shut down the course and diverted runners back to the finish area four hours after the start because of sweltering heat and humidity. (AP Photo/Jerry Lai)

With the temperature expected to reach 80 degrees, extra precautions are being taken to keep runners safe during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday, race officials said Friday.

“There will be more resources out on the course, as far as ice and fluids,” said race medical director Dr. George Chiampas. “And we’ll probably open hydrants so we can create some hoses to cool runners down. We have some cool sponge stations on the course as well and plenty of buses for runners to hop on if they want to cool off.”

Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 60s when the race starts at 7:30 a.m. and could reach 80 by 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Chiampas described the forecast as “pretty good temperatures. If it were about seven or eight degrees cooler, it would probably be ideal, but overall it’s not going to be an extreme day by no means.”

Sunday’s weather will be much more forgiving than the race conditions in 2007, when humidity soared and temperatures reached 90, causing officials to stop the race.

At a news conference Friday featuring some of the top runners in this year’s race, Kenyan Moses Mosop, who recorded the second-fastest marathon time ever at Boston this year with a 2:03:06 – four seconds behind the record – downplayed any world-record expectations for himself on Sunday. He said his training was set back by a tendon issue in his left leg.

But race director Carey Pinkowski said he thinks Mosop might be downplaying his fitness as a matter of gamesmanship.

“He’ a very sly competitor, so let’s see what happens on race day,” said Pinkowski. “If he wasn’t ready to go, I don’t think he’d be here. I think he’s downplaying his fitness level to put a little intrigue into the competition.”