High school cross country runners weigh in on smoke-filled air - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

High school cross country runners weigh in on smoke-filled air

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KENNEWICK, WA - With triple-digit temperatures and smoke filling our hair, lacing up and getting active outdoors can be a health risk.

And for the Southridge Cross Country squad and many other high school teams preparing for the season ahead, the outdoor run is unavoidable. Even if it means a 7:45 a.m. practice time, 5 days a week.

"It's very important," said Kila Vopat, a Southridge senior. "Otherwise it gets too hot and we just want to get it done and then get indoors as soon as we can."

Because of the smoky conditions, Southridge coaches have made summer workouts optional for the last week or so...but of course when you're a competitive high school runner, even if the thermometer reads 105 degrees, it's hard to resist putting on the miles.

"I think I went 8 or 9 [miles] one day and realized that probably wasn't such a good idea," said Keanu Daos, a Southridge senior.

If you do decide to get out and run in this heat, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safety.

"They wear light-colored clothes as light as they can so they're not getting overheated," said Cheryl Yoke, Southridge Girls head coach, "and hydrate before they run, hydrate after all day long, they need to take in a lot more water."

And the earlier in the day - and later in the day - the better.

"Once you get it done it's like you're on a roll and it's like, 'oh, I wanna get something else done,' so definitely in the morning or evening."