A record heat wave stormed through Claremont this week, producing an average high of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. On Monday, the recorded high was 112 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest temperature ever recorded on that day, and only 5 degrees short of Claremont’s all time high, set in 1948.
In addition to the overall exhaustion and sweat of the student body, the recent heat wave took a serious toll on the Pomona-Pitzer athletes practicing through it. Although every team continued practicing, consorted efforts were taken to ensure the athletes were kept safe.
“In our training program, we are always pushing the envelope, making a concerted effort to get the most from each athlete during each and every practice,” Tony Boston, the head of men’s cross country team explained. “Out of necessity, this cavalier attitude had to take a back seat.”
“Several athletes on my team are running an average of 75-85 miles per week—that is 10.7 to 12 miles each day. It would be malpractice to have these athletes completing these efforts in triple digit temperatures,” Boston added.
Being in southern California, the school is accustomed to extreme heats, especially in the months of August and September, and was aptly prepared to deal with the recent temperatures.
“The Athletic Department has a comprehensive emergency procedure manual that details how to handle excessive heat. The information outlines what coaches and teams should do before, during and after practice sessions as well as how to notice signs of potential heat illness,” Boston said.
Following the advice of this procedure manual, Boston pushed the team’s practice time up from its afternoon slot to the morning on some of the hotter days. Additionally, Boston and his athletic staff provided extra means of hydration for their players, including iced towers and large troughs filled with ice water.
The women’s cross-country team took similar methods to persevere through the recent heat. “We have been very conscious of our water and electrolyte consumption in order to avoid dehydration,” the team’s coach, Alicia Freese, said. “On Monday, we did a light run of only 30-40 minutes and stayed in a primarily shaded area close to campus.”
In spite of these small precautions, Freese noted that the team’s motto has been simply to run through the heat.
“The PPXC women are all pretty tough cookies and so we have been able to work through the heat rather than working around it,” Freese said. “We are lucky that our sport requires minimal clothing.”
In true competitive spirit, Freese used the opportunity to take a slight stab at the men’s team.
“I know certain people on the men’s team have taken to carrying lightweight hydration bottles on their runs,” she said, “but the women haven’t found this to be at all necessary.”
Although the temperatures are still higher than expected by October, the recent heat wave has subsided, with the high on Thursday a mere 94 degrees Fahrenheit.