ROCHESTER, Minn. - With temperatures hitting 97 degrees on Sunday, Med City Marathon coordinators took precautions to combat the heat.
They cut the marathon down to a half-marathon. They also doubled up on water, giving runners water and ice every mile. Marathon coordinators tell KIMT 913 people started the race but only 889 finished. It's not clear why the 24 runners didn't finish, but 4 of them were sent to the emergency room for heat exhuaustion.
One of the marathon finishers is United States veteran Walter Franz. Franz joined the reserves in 1991 and since has completed three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Franz, who joined the reserves in 1991 and since has completed three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, completed the marathon in full service uniform with a 30 pound backpack.
"I do it as kind of a remembrance and honor thing," he said. "It's a light load. The men and woman who are currently in uniform, when they put on their full gear, their body weight goes up 30 to 80 pounds."
Walter's goal is to cross the finish line, but also spread some awareness.
"We just need to remember who serves us. I just want everybody to spend a few moments and remember why we have this day," he said.
This is Walter's fourth year completing the course in service gear and he plans to do it next year, too.
"I view this as maybe our most sacred, national holiday," he said. "Maybe somebody will watch this and be here with me next year."