Surviving the Boston Marathon

Some people would rather die that run a marathon. Others run the marathon and almost die.

 Here’s how Bostonians try to make sure runners avoid the big finish line in the sky.

 From the Boston Athletic Association, sponsor of the Boston Marathon

 The Athletes’ Village will have two medical tents that can offer assistance with most last-minute medical needs. Band-Aids, Vaseline, a pre-race stretch, or just a word of encouragement can be offered by our medical team….

 Write down your current or pre-event weight on the back of your bib. This figure may help us determine if you have been over-drinking during the event. Scales will be available at both medical tents…

The American Red Cross provides 26 medical aid stations strategically located along the course. Each tent is staffed with a variety of medical professionals, offering basic first aid to those in need. Course medical coverage is supported with ambulances and EMS bike teams provided by Fallon Ambulance, AMR and Cataldo Ambulance Company…

Medical sweep buses are positioned along the course aid stations. These buses are available to those runners that cannot finish the race and/or may have a minor medical problem. Each bus is staffed by medical volunteers who are available to provide first aid. A runner may choose to rest on the bus while it is parked at a first aid station. However, once the bus begins to move, the runner’s chip will be removed, once this occurs the runner may not re-enter the course to complete the marathon …

Medical teams are located at the finish line… Medical personnel can be identified by their red volunteer jackets: If you are injured or feeling ill, please seek out a member of the medical team for assistance…

Massage Therapy Services Massage therapy is offered to the athletes on a limited, first-come first-served basis. Treatments may last from five to 15 minutes…

After You Cross the Finish Line: During any prolonged physical activity, the body’s blood supply is usually redirected to the extremities and away from internal organs. Runners should continue to walk after finishing the race. Standing still or stopping can cause nausea, dizzy and weakness – normally resulting with a runner passing out. Walking will help redirect your blood to vital organs, so it is advisable to keep moving. In any event, if you think you need help, ask one of our medical personnel for assistance.

And, finally,

Any medical expenses incurred on race day are the sole responsibility of the runner.

 Also, Runner’s World rounds up a list of medical research on Boston Marathoners, including one out of McLean Hospital on “The Causes of Marathon Collapse.”

April 19 update: The Globe offers this on the physical impact of the race:

Cramps like Cruz’s are just one of the calamities small or large that can befall a marathon runner. Months of preparation can bring amateur and professional athletes alike to a peak of fitness, but training can also take a toll on muscles and minds — after several hundred miles of training, about 30 percent of runners already have weathered injuries, many from overuse. Cap that with 26.2 miles of leave-it-all-out-there exertion — or so runners hope — and the next job is recovery.


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