It’s peak running season! From local neighborhood runs to high-profile large city marathon races, the month of October sees Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crews busy keeping runners and spectators safe. EMS crews at running events are tasked with caring for runners as they “hit the trails” and “pound the pavement”. In addition, these crews work to keep the scores of spectators that dot the running course and lace the finish line safe to cheer on their favorite runners, family members and friends.
This year’s Friends of Karura half marathon saw 1K runner entries, with race registration selling out just a few hours into the registration launch. We were tasked in providing EMS coverage for the event. Prior to the registration window launch, we embarked on pre-planning race logistics and as soon as the number of participants was firmed up, we committed a team of Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, a standby ambulance crew, an EMS bike crew, EMS medical tent crews, among other resources.
Prior to race day, we scouted the site to map out the closest hospital, plan out pop-up EMS stations along the course and assess other environmental needs. Come race day, we hauled in the regular cache of standard EMS equipment onto the pre-mounted pop up tents, activated the bike and ambulance teams and used radio communication to interface with race organizers as part of a larger multi-disciplinary incident command team. The majority of the injuries/interventions provided included:
Sprains —Most severe was from an existing injury. Applied icing and immobilization of the limb to relieve pain
Minor scrapes/scratches — Cleaned scrapes/stratches. These were mainly from tree branches
Replenishing electrolytes — Administered Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) for cases of extreme thirst
Bee stings — Removing the bee stinger and icing to relieve pain
Muscle tightness — Applied liniment cream, icing and massaging for pain relief
Most runners seemed to have safely trained and prepared for the race as we did not experience any major injuries. We are excited to have been part of a team that delivered a safe run and that saw organizers live stream the Berlin Marathon as part of a post race watch party to witness Eliud Kipchoge clock a new marathon world record time.