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12.01.2015

The extra mile: Clinicians, volunteers aid marathoners

Slideshow: UW Medicine provided care at Seattle’s Thanksgiving weekend road race by helping competitors along the route

By Brian Donohue  |  HSNewsBeat  |  Updated 12:45 PM, 12.01.2015

Posted in: Community

  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) A runner nears the marathon finish line in Memorial Stadium. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) A UW Medicine staffer sets up one of two tents in the finish area. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) For UW Medicine clinicians, the day started at 6 a.m. and ended at about 5 p.m. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) A runner gets a loving sendoff at the start of the 2015 Seattle Marathon. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) More than 12,000 athletes registered for the marathon events. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) UW Medicine clinicians treat a runner who experienced leg pain. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) Marathoners warm down in the recovery area. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) Clinicians assess an exhausted runner after the race. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) A runner gets her blood pressure checked after finishing the race. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) UW Medicine staff applaud runners' efforts in the marathon finish area. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) 2015 Seattle Marathon finishers received these medals. Stephen Brashear
  • (Click arrows for slideshow.) UW Medicine staffed seven aid stations along the route and two tents in the finish area. Stephen Brashear
Medical aid stations have become the norm at marathons, and many runners come expecting help. 
Harrast-marathon
Stephen Brashear
Dr. Mark Harrast talks with a volunteer clinician before the Nov. 29 Seattle Marathon.
Dr. Mark Harrast talks with a volunteer clinician before the Nov. 29 Seattle Marathon.
"These have become everyman races, and people invest not only a lot of time training but also money to take part," said Dr. Mark Harrast, an orthopedic- and sports-medicine specialist who oversaw UW Medicine's role providing care at last Sunday's Seattle Marathon.

"
Those who see it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience are more likely to extend beyond their capabilities, or to ignore musculoskeletal pains in their desire to finish. This is where they really find the value of medical providers along the course," he said.

About 140 volunteers, primarily clinicians, staffed aid stations along the route and at the finish line. More than 350 competitors received aid, most commonly for muscle cramps and knee and foot pain.

"People getting a blister treated, getting ice, getting a cramp rolled out," Harrast said. "Runners either want to self-treat with ice or get an assessment about whether it's safe to continue." 
Sophia Liu
Courtesy of Sophia Liu
Sophia Liu, a post-doc fellow in radiology research at UW, won the woman's marathon for the second straight year.
picture of marathoner Sophia Liu, a UW Medicine fellow in radiology
The past two years' marathons have met with cold weather, so spots along the course were icy.

"We saw more people with trauma from slipping," Harrast said. "Last year we had a couple of concussions; this year one facial laceration had to go to the emergency room and a couple of others had to be sutured up in our medical tent."

UW Medicine has been the race's medical sponsor since 2009.

Sophia Liu, a post-doc fellow in radiology research, put UW Medicine's best foot forward in the race. For the second straight year, she won the woman's marathon, with a time of 2:58:42.

Liu studies genetics and aging, and currently is helping to conduct a clinical trial and exercise program related to aging and muscle dysfunction. 
Tagged with: athletes, marathon
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