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Participate in Study to Improve Medical Care at Endurance Events

A study that aims to develop best practice advice for medical teams providing care at endurance running races worldwide is calling on race organizers and runners to help by completing a short questionnaire.

Researchers at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) are working with the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM), an official RRCA partner organization, to set up a resource for race and medical directors, emergency medical providers and participants that aims to provide educational resources and advice on medical best practice at long distance endurance races - predominantly half and full marathons.

The Loughborough research team has developed a set of questionnaires designed to help them understand how medical care is currently managed at events from the World Marathon Majors to locally organized races in the US. The questionnaires are being distributed to race and medical directors globally and are also available to complete online at www.survey.lboro.ac.uk/racemedicine.

Findings will be used to gain a picture of current medical programs, to identify best practices, and to develop guidelines for races of varying sizes. They will also be used to assess runners’ knowledge on hydration behavior during races and help provide practical advice for runners and for race organizers.

“It is important that through the questionnaires that we identify the optimum level of medical support needed at events so that each race can deliver the best possible care based on resources and runner numbers,” said Steve Mears, Loughborough Research Associate. “We are initially focusing on understanding the best way to treat and minimize such conditions as sudden cardiac arrest, exertional heat illness and water intoxication (hyponatremia) as these can occur in endurance races. If we can provide an educational resource through the IIRM that allows race and medical directors and emergency medical providers to understand the best practice for race set up and guidelines for most effective treatment, we can help prevent some of the more serious cases associated with these conditions.” 

“The running industry has witnessed tremendous growth over the past 10 years,” added Chris Troyanos, IIRM Executive Director and Boston Marathon Medical Coordinator.  “Advancements in runner tracking, data entry, and timing have allowed for larger field sizes for every type of event. During these events, the safety of the participants and the general public should be the event’s first priority.”

Through this study, the IIRM is attempting to collate information on the medical set-up at road races around the world. By asking event directors about their medical set-up, it is hoped the IIRM can develop an understanding of current race practices.  The ultimate goal is to use this information to advise races about their medical set ups and produce educational resources races can easily be accessed by event directors and their medical teams

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