More than 50 runners were treated Saturday morning at medical tents along the Bird-in-Hand half-marathon course for dehydration, heat exhaustion and other ailments as humidity levels soared. 

The number of runners requiring medical attention, mostly at the finish line, was unusual because of weather conditions, said Ken Esh, EMS coordinator for Gordonville Fire Company. 

Calls for emergency medical services began around 9:30. Esh said most received medical attention on the scene but a few were transported to area hospitals for treatment. 

The exact number was not yet available, he said, adding that no fatalities had been reported.

Temperatures in Bird-in-Hand this morning were in the low- to mid-80s, with humidity above 65 percent, according to Weather Bug. The high humidity made it feel like high-80s heat.

Tim Hoerner, president of Hand-in-Hand Fire Company, said race organizers met this morning to discuss whether they should cancel the event but decided to press on. 

"It didn't seem like much of an option. We would have had 1,700 upset people if we canceled the event because it was too hot," he said. "These runners understand the risks when they signed up. They're out there running in these conditions all the time."

The rush of numerous first-responder vehicles to the scene generated calls from a few concerned citizens fearing a widespread disaster was in the offing.

But it seemed it was just end-of-summer sizzle.

"There were people handing out bottled water along the way but the heat was really bad out there this morning," said Hand-in-Hand Fire Company Chief Lonnie Kauffman, who was directing traffic around the race. 

At the finish line, Kauffman said, firefighters prepared for the humid conditions by setting up a folding tank filled with water to help over-heated runners cool down.  

Hoerner credited emergency personnel for their preparation and the runners who adjusted their pace to compensate for the heat.

"There were quite a few people who told me they slowed down to deal with the conditions," he said.

Despite the high humidity, Hoerner said he considers the race a success.

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Karen Shuey is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer who covers state and federal government and politics. She can be reached at or (717) 291-8716. You can also follow @Karen_Shuey on Twitter.