This time around, we felt pretty good going into the Frederick Running Festival. 2010 marked Frederick Memorial’s third year as the race’s official medical sponsor and we were well prepared with truckloads of supplies, plenty of staff and an established system in place.
Or so we thought.
In past years we’ve experienced the Frederick Running Festival in a cool rain and on a comfortable, sunny day. This time around it was a muggy, hot morning with a high pollen count. Race organizers Corrigan Sports and Frederick City Police Chief Kim Dine huddled with our medical team and considered canceling the run, but decided we collectively had the resources in place to ensure our runners were safe.
The race began at 6:30 a.m. We were set up in a tent near the finish line to handle the routine requests for band-aids, pain relievers and PowerAde. This year we also had a second location – an air-conditioned building – which we transformed into a medical unit with 20 stretchers and areas for muscle and joint pain, wound care, aches and pains and dehydration.
By 9:30 a.m. we were running out of medical supplies. A call to FMH had more supplies on the way in a hurry, and we needed them to help runners who made it to the finish line by sheer determination.
Our biggest challenge was hyperthermia and water and ice were our weapons of choice. We literally doused runners with ice water to start the cooling process. One runner arrived in our medical area confused and staggering with a rapid pulse – all symptoms of heat stroke. Others were too dizzy to sit up and drink water or PowerAde, so we started IVs to give them fluids internally.
In past years we’ve sent one or two patients to the FMH Emergency Department for further care. This year a total of 10 patients were transported and two were admitted to the hospital. The most critically injured patient we saw was sent straight to the hospital for a cardiac catheterization procedure.
Our last patient was sent home at 2:00 Sunday afternoon. With the help of our partners with Frederick County EMS and the Frederick City Police Department, we achieved our goal to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each of the 6,000 runners participating in this year’s event.
The Frederick News-Post has a photo slide show from this year’s festival — look for the link under the Multimedia tab!