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J Athl Train. 1994 June; 29(2): 145-146, 149-151.
PMCID: PMC1317779

Medical Considerations and Planning for Short Distance Road Races

Douglas M. Kleiner, PhD, ATC/R, CSCS
Douglas M. Kleiner is Assistant Professor and Coordinator at The Athletic Training Research and Education Center, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-5120.
Stephen E. Glickman, RPT, ATC, LMT


Short distance road races are popular in most communities, and athletic trainers are often asked to coordinate the medical coverage for such events. The medical support needed to successfully cover marathons, triathlons, and other endurance events has been well documented. However, little information has been presented regarding medical considerations for shorter distance races. Heat illness is often seen in short distance races, especially when the environmental conditions are extreme. Successful coverage of races of any length includes thorough planning and preparation, adequate supplies, and competent personnel. Medical coverage includes organizing the medical tent at the finish line, selecting appropriate protocols for treatment, and identifying a physician who will act as the race's medical director. It may also be necessary to provide medical coverage on the race course, at other areas, and at the finish line. The purpose of this paper is to inform the medical community, and athletic trainers in particular, of some of the details that should be considered when planning race coverage. The information detailed within may also be applied to other sports-related medical coverage provided by athletic trainers.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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  • England AC, 3rd, Fraser DW, Hightower AW, Tirinnanzi R, Greenberg DJ, Powell KE, Slovis CM, Varsha RA. Preventing severe heat injury in runners: suggestions from the 1979 Peachtree Road Race experience. Ann Intern Med. 1982 Aug;97(2):196–201. [PubMed]
  • Hanson PG, Zimmerman SW. Exertional heatstroke in novice runners. JAMA. 1979 Jul 13;242(2):154–157. [PubMed]
  • Noakes TD, Goodwin N, Rayner BL, Branken T, Taylor RK. Water intoxication: a possible complication during endurance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1985 Jun;17(3):370–375. [PubMed]
  • Noakes TD, Myburgh KH, du Plessis J, Lang L, Lambert M, van der Riet C, Schall R. Metabolic rate, not percent dehydration, predicts rectal temperature in marathon runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991 Apr;23(4):443–449. [PubMed]
  • Noakes TD, Norman RJ, Buck RH, Godlonton J, Stevenson K, Pittaway D. The incidence of hyponatremia during prolonged ultraendurance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990 Apr;22(2):165–170. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association