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Caution urged for marathoners as heat rises

Water was stacked up in Hopkinton on Sunday in preparation for the Marathon.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

Water was stacked up in Hopkinton on Sunday in preparation for the Marathon.

The word of this Patriots Day is obviously caution because of the record heat in the forecast.

Boston Marathon officials have been very clear in emphasizing to runners that today should not be treated as a race, but rather an experience, and if the experience proves to be too much, runners need to make the smart decision.

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The BAA continued to advise runners on Sunday about the warm temperatures expected for the Marathon, scheduled to begin for elite women runners at 9:32 a.m. and for the majority of the field at 10 a.m.

At 4:50 p.m. Sunday all 26,701 official entrants received another weather advisory via e-mail. The advisory reiterated the risks involved in running and emphasized that ‘‘only the fittest runners should consider participating.’’ It recommended that non-qualifiers ‘‘strongly consider not running, and that they strongly consider deferring until next year.’’

With high temperatures expected in the upper 80s, the race will take place in what is known as the ‘‘red zone.’’ A marathon in the red zone presents increased risk and is unsafe for unfit and novice runners but, as the e-mail indicated, is ‘‘acceptable for high-level elite runners.’’

In addition, for runners who decide to participate, the advisory suggested they ‘‘strongly consider running significantly more slowly than they normally would plan to run a marathon.’’ And the e-mail emphasized the importance of personal responsibility.

‘‘For the overwhelming majority of those who have entered to participate in the 2012 Boston Marathon, you should adopt the attitude that THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience.’’

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