Friday, August 29 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:50:07 GMT
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Imagine you're from Denmark and it's your first trip to Hawaii let alone your first marathon here and then you learn about this thing called vog. How do you prepare for that?
"Do you know what vog is?" we ask.
"No actually not," responded Jorgain Ginsin, 62, from Denmark.
We explained vog is basically volcanic smog and gases from Kilauea.
"Is that a concern while running?" we ask.
"No we're from Denmark. We don't know so no problem. I have never seen a volcano before. We don't have them in Denmark," said Ginsin. "We have a lot of water on the route so we should be no problem."
"As I've been understanding it, it's like making the air more moist or harder to breathe. I know it's a pretty different environment from what we're used," said Tobias Arum, 21, from Denmark running his first marathon. "I'm expecting that it is going to be tough."
Denmark is about as different from Hawaii as possible and the Danes are aren't the only ones in the dark about vog. This year 57 percent of the more than 31,000 marathon participants come from 41 foreign countries. Thousands of others are from the mainland.
"I'm a little nervous about the humidity," said Crystal Mackay, 30, from Seattle who is running in her sixth marathon. "The only thing I am going to do different is make sure I have a good salt intake and hydrate more often than I probably normally would."
Then there's the unorthodox Sister Andrena Mulligan who flew in from London. This is her 104th marathon. She doesn't even stretch so she won't prepare any differently for the vog.
"I guess I just go out there and run it for the fun and companionship," said Sister Mulligan.
"You really don't even stretch?"
"No and I know that's not advised for any runner but I don't," laughed Mulligan.
The vog and humidity could be so bad this year the race president suggests some people shouldn't even start.
"If someone has a specific problem with the vog they probably shouldn't run, but there is no question the heat and humidity that's been around here for several days and it looks like it's going to be here on Sunday could definitely create more people requiring medical services," said Dr. Jim Barahal, Honolulu Marathon President who is also a medical doctor.
Those medical services will be available throughout the course along with more air conditioned vans and more than 104,000 pounds of ice. Also mist tents will be on the course for the first time.
"The main thing we're doing is to let people know it's going to be a tough day. If they are not feeling good, if they're having a bad day drop out, it's no disgrace, live to fight another day and we're going to make it a lot easier for people to drop out," said Dr. Barahal. "They'll find out very quickly and I think there will be a certain self limiting factor. People will slow down whether they like it or not."
"You're not going to run your best time on Sunday so just slow down and enjoy it the best you can don't worry so much about the time and get back to the finish line safely," said Dr. Barahal. "If people have specific respiratory problems, if the vog bothers them, and people know if they have trouble, no one likes it, but some people have specific problems, they should consider not running the race."
Of course there's plenty of enthusiasm from participants before the race. Time will tell if it will stick to the finish.