Blog12 August 2016

Infographic: how temperatures can affect the 2016 Games in Rio

The “greatest show on Earth” is beginning to hot up in Rio, with all eyes now on the track and field events that will dominate discussion for days to come. A lot has been made about the suitability of various venues, courses and waters in the build-up to the competition, but lots of people have overlooked the potential impact Brazil’s notorious climate could have on proceedings.

Although you might naturally assume that hot weather could cause long-distance runners to run more slowly than usual, many will be surprised to learn the extent to which this is true. Did you know, for example, that every 5°F rise in temperatures above 60°F may lead to the average marathon runner slowing by as much as 30 seconds per mile?

Every type of race has its own unique optimum temperature which varies according to location and distance.

To help convey the effect climatic factors can have on an athlete’s performance, we at Andrews Air Conditioning have produced the below infographic which highlights the perfect conditions for each individual event. And using the average qualifying times of a wide pool of participants, we have been able to calculate the ideal temperature for sprinters, middle-distance and long-distance runners.

There is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a definitive correlation between “peak conditions” being cooler the further you run. The visual above concludes that there is almost a 15°C difference between that of the 100m sprint and a full 26.2 mile marathon.

This information adds a different dynamic to those attempting to forecast the outcome of a particular contest – not to mention for those involved! Day-time temperatures in the Brazilian capital city are expected to range between 24°C and 31°C over the next week, making it more conducive for sprinters according to research.

In theory, then, the likes of Usain Bolt should be on course to set a blistering pace when they take to the track; but it remains to be seen whether that will be a reality!