About 30 people required medical aid during Sunday's Tely 10 road race in the St. John's area, with first responders saying they were swamped by demand for treatment.
Extra staff and volunteers were brought in to deal with an unexpected severity of illness in the race, a 10-mile course that starts in Paradise and ends at Bannerman Park in St. John's.
Temperatures on Sunday were in the mid-20s along the route, although high humidity made the run more gruelling.
"The severity of the illnesses that we're seeing are much, much higher [than normal]," said Brian Metcalfe, divisional superintendent with St. John Ambulance.
Metcalfe is also an emergency room physician at St. Clare's hospital in St. John's, and started his shift on Sunday afternoon caring for some of the same patients he dealt with in the morning with St. John Ambulance.
"The medical team inside is saying they're the sickest group of people that they've ever seen from any Tely 10 in all the years that we've been doing this," Metcalfe said.
"Certainly, from what we were seeing from a St. John Ambulance point of view, it was a similar situation."
Metcalfe said most of the ailments were heat-related.
"Mostly heat exhaustion, but also heat stroke, which is sort of a more severe presentation of that," he said.
He said some patients were unconscious when treatment started.
"A lot of people [had] severe metabolic issues that resulted from it as well. We also see the usual strains, sprains, muscle cramps, blisters — things like that."
Returning and new champs
Eight-time Tely 10 champion Colin Fewer was the first across the finish line Sunday for the race, completing the course in just over 50 minutes.
Fewer was forced to sit out the 2013 race because he was having hip surgery.
He said after a hiatus last year, he was excited to get back in the race and take back his spot as the men's champion.
Kate Vaughan-Bazeley was the first woman to cross the finish line on Sunday, coming in just shy of 56 minutes.
Vaughan-Bazeley's time was just 10 seconds shy of the 1986 women's record.
She said the heat and humidity on Sunday wasn't overwhelming for her, but added it had an impact on everyone who ran.