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Pre-race preparation to help you run a safe race

Pre-race preparation is vital in the prevention of injuries and illness at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon

By Hayley Payne

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is just around the corner and with over 27,000 participants expected over the weekend, pre-race preparation is vital in the prevention of injuries and illness.

Two of the most common issues faced by the medical team at the event in recent years have been dehydration and cramping.

Event Medical Director Dr Brent Richards from Gold Coast Health and event physiotherapist Kyle Mitchell from Pindara Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine provide their advice for participants.

“Even though we’re in the middle of winter, our experience of working at the marathon in previous years shows that exercise-induced heat related illness is still common,” said Dr Richards.

“The sort of symptoms we’d encourage you to look out for include headaches, lethargy, nausea and vomiting. More severe symptoms can include weakness in the limbs, slurred speech, confusion and in extreme cases, seizures.

“Dehydration and heat related illness can be fatal, so if you’re feeling faint or unwell during the course of your event, stop and check in with race officials or come to the Gold Coast Health tent and seek our medical support.”

Dr Richards said preparation is the key for participants to avoid dehydration and most other injuries.

“These days participants in the marathon are much better prepared and have usually done extensive training in the lead up to their event, and are better educated on the critical need to stay hydrated for the run,” said Dr Richards.

“As such the key advice is to stay hydrated, drinking both before and during the event as well as after.

“In the day before the event and on the day of the event, we’d encourage participants to avoid dehydrating drinks including caffeine, alcohol and drinks with high sugar levels like most soft drinks and energy drinks, as these can interfere with the rapid absorption of fluids.”

Kyle Mitchell, who will have a team of 15 physiotherapists at the event, said that cramping makes up about 80 percent of the medical presentations during the event.

“We see a lot of runners develop cramping both during and after the race,” he said.

“However, there are some precautions people can make in the week before and even the day of the event.”

Three pieces of advice from Kyle to avoid cramping during the event are:

1. Staying well-hydrated before, during and after the race;

2. Ensuring you have had adequate nutrition in the lead up to the race and choosing food that will sustain your body;

3. Ensuring you have trained correctly for your race by getting used to the distance you are about to run.

Sometimes even with lots of preparation, cramps can still occur in the most experienced runners.

Participants will always be close to help with aid stations stocked with water and Endura Rehydration Formula along the course.

The event physiotherapists will also be providing pickle juice in the medical zones to help ease cramping.

Kyle has vast experience in the use of pickle juice from his work in sport and said that it is the acidity of the juice that provides the benefit.

“The way it can work to help cramps is by swishing it in your mouth to help trigger a reflex that can lead to muscle relaxation.

“Pickle juice is great and it really helps with some people’s cramping. It can turn an eight minute cramp into only a four minute cramp, but like most things it doesn’t work for everyone,” he said.

Most importantly, Kyle advises that all participants take the time to adequately prepare themselves for the event.

“Injury prevention is a much better situation than people having to deal with cramping during the event,” Kyle said.

“The main thing we try to encourage is to ensure that everyone is ready for the event and prepared for the race to help them have the best Marathon possible.”

The 39th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held this Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July.

Set to attract more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities, this year’s race program will feature the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over 42.2km, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Southern Cross University 10km Run, The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge, Zespri 4km Junior Dash and Zespri 2km Junior Dash.

For the fourth year, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon has been awarded an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label.

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