More than 18-thousand runners are expected to cross the start line in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Marathon but not all of them will finish.
“We expect to see one to three percent of runner visit our aid stations,” says UPMC Sports Medicine Medical Director Ron Roth. Roth will be overseeing more than 300 medical professionals who will be volunteering their time Sunday along the racecourse. Half of the treatments will be given at the 17 aid stations along the course and other half of the patients will be served in the massive medical tent to be set up this week on the North Shore.
Roth says most of the injuries will be simple blisters, bruises and strains but his team will be ready to take care of any emergency including heart attacks and low sodium levels. 25 ambulances are expected to be at the ready along with a mountain of supplies including 100 jars of petroleum jelly, 200 IV’s 4,600 alcohol wipes and 7,600 band-aids.
As Medical Director, Roth will be keeping his eye on the weather as well as the runners. Several weather stations will be set up along the course. “When we look at the weather we’re looking not only at the ambient temperature but we do some calculations,” says Roth, “That includes the humidity, amount of sun, the amount of wind. It’s called the Wet Bulb Globe Index.” The information will be conveyed to the runners through message boards and a system of colored flags.
Roth says the record number of runners means he will have a record number of customers.