We investigated the effect of exercise in the heat on both intracellular and extracellular Hsp72 in athletes with a prior history of exertional heat illness (EHI). Two groups of runners, one consisting of athletes who had a previous history of EHI, and a control group (CON) of similar age (29.7 ± 1.2 and 29.1 ± 2 years CON vs. EHI) and fitness [maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) 65.7 ± 2 and 64.5 ± 3 ml kg-1 min-1 CON vs. EHI] were recruited. Seven subjects in each group ran on a treadmill for 1 h at 72 % V̇O2max in warm conditions (30°C, 40 % RH) reaching rectal temperatures of ∼39.3 (CON) and ∼39.2°C (EHI). Blood was collected every 10 min during exercise and plasma was analysed for extracellular Hsp72. Intracellular Hsp72 levels were measured in both monocytes and lymphocytes before and immediately after the 60-min run, and then after 1 h recovery at an ambient temperature of 24°C. Plasma Hsp72 increased from 1.18 ± 0.14 and 0.86 ± 0.08 ng/ml (CON vs. EHI) at rest to 4.56 ± 0.63 and 4.04 ± 0.45 ng/ml (CON vs. EHI, respectively) at the end of exercise (p < 0.001), with no difference between groups. Lymphocyte Hsp72 was lower in the EHI group at 60 min of exercise (p < 0.05), while monocyte Hsp72 was not different between groups. The results of the present study suggest that the plasma Hsp72 response to exercise in athletes with a prior history of EHI remained similar to that of the CON group, while the lymphocyte Hsp72 response was reduced.