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.”