NYC Runners Heat Study

Do you ever wonder how heat and air pollution impacts your ability to run?

Do you run 30 miles a week and are you interested in helping with a research study this summer?

Study Overview
We are looking for runners to run 21 km on a designated Central Park 3 times to evaluate if acute recurrent heat stress impacts long-distance runners’ health. We will offer a $75, $100 and $125 gift card if you complete runs 1, 2, and 3 in the park, respectively.

If you are interested, please contact our research team at or call 929-618-0825, to hear more about the study.

This research study aims to understand environmental exposures better while running. We will be monitoring for air temperature, noise, and air pollution. Sensors will be used to collect data on individual levels of environmental exposure in the natural environment and how the body responds and internal body temperature. Knowing this information will allow us to characterize environmental exposures while one is exercising throughout New York City. Your participation will help researchers gain a better understanding of both the variability of exposures in the natural environment and how the body responds.

This study was approved by Mount Sinai IRB STUDY-21-01725. Participants should not be taking any anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or have pre-existing health conditions (i.e., high blood pressure, heart disease, seizures, kidney disease, or stomach disorders) that would increase one’s risk of acute kidney injury.

How does the study work?
Enrolled runners will first come to the Mount Sinai Center for Advanced Medicine located at 17 E 102 Street, New York NY, 10029, between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM within 7 days of the first scheduled 21 km run. We will go over the consent form that was emailed, and bring you to the clinical research unit to collect urine and blood samples to establish a health baseline. Runners will then be asked to complete three (3) 21 km runs at approximately 1-week intervals between each run.

  • Approximately 6 hours prior to each scheduled run, the runner will take a thermal pill. The ingested pill will allow us to monitor and capture internal core temperature; it will be excreted in the feces after it passes through the digestive tract.
  • Prior to each of the 3 runs, enrolled runners will come to Mount Sinai Center for Advanced Medicine located at 17 E 102 Street, New York NY, 10029, which is conveniently located next to Central Park. While at Mount Sinai, the study coordinator will weigh each runner to understand fluid loss during the run and set up the runners with a range of environmental monitors:
    – Sweat patch will be placed on the arm to capture sodium losses
    – Devices capable of monitoring breathing rate, minute ventilation, and heart rate
    – Lightweight vest that has a portable personal aerosol monitor for PM2.5 and other environmental sensor
    – High-grade thermometer able to capture ambient air temperature and humidity
    – Sound monitor
    – Watch and pod to capture running dynamics
  • Each runner will use all of the monitors simultaneously during each run. Once outfitted with the necessary monitors, the runner will be led over to Central Park to complete the 21 km run (see course map below)
  • After completing the run, the runner will return to Mount Sinai for post-run evaluations:
    – The runner will be weighed to determine sweat volume losses
    – Equipment will be collected and real-time collection data will be downloaded.
    – Urine and blood samples will be collected

Study Completion:

At the end of the three runs, we will email you detailed results of your runs. This will include your internal body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, air pollution exposure and heat exposure throughout your run as it is matched to the spatial locations. You will receive up to a $320 gift card for participating in the study.

ROUTE (21 km)
Runners will start at East 102nd and 5th Ave. They will run west across 102nd St, then down the bridal path to Columbus Circle. They will turn around at Columbus Circle and run back up the bridle path and at 85th Street they will head east and continue on the bridle to 102nd St. Here they will be met by a research coordinator who will provide them with water and remove the sweat patch. Then the runner will head north on the road and exit the park at 110th and Central Park West. They will run west on 110th to Morningside Drive and take a right, head north on Morningside Drive, which merges into 122nd St.

Turn right on Broadway and head north to 125th and take a left and go to the water. Run south on the Henry Hudson bike trail until 92nd Street where you will head into the upper level of the Henry Hudson Greenway, to the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza and exit at 83rd St. Head East on 83rd until you reach Central Park and enter the park on 85th Street. Run north on the road to 102 Street transverse, head east, and meet research coordinator back at the start.

Animated Routes: Loop 1 and Loop 2

Research Team:

Nicholas DeFelice, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health

Steven Coca, DO, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai