“It is important that we all work very close together” explains Matthias Hoeter, managing director of Medical Crew. “The main goal is to provide the quickest possible emergency and general health care to the event participants at any time and in any terrain.”
Runners may not be fully aware of how much time, dedication and preparation goes into assuring their safety and well-being. Pre-race setup for Medical Crew is about two days. But preparation for any single event begins much earlier. Claudius Wurm, also managing director, personally runs the courses to gain perspective on the challenges that will face runners and identify difficult race sections. Based on this, he strategically plans where to stage equipment and higher level medical personnel to have expertise and supplies in the right locations.
If you’re thinking that once the race starts at 5am, the crew sits back waiting for something to happen - think again. There is always something happening in the medical coordination tent, from 5am to about 9:30am the next day. According to Matthias, “Our tasks during the event consist of the mobile operation centre in the start and finish area, mobile rescue and first aid station in the finish area, general health and emergency care on the course through mobile crews and the coordination of emergency response”. For Matthias and Claudius, it’s 24+ hours of a phone in one hand and radio in the other with at least twenty things to do and fifty more decisions to make. Cups full of coffee substitute for fluffy pillows and a good night’s sleep. Over the course of the race, Medical Crew will respond to an average of 800-1000 calls.
Medical Crew is not a newcomer to the organized outdoor sport event scene. Years of experience are reflected by carefully tuned response kits that include highly organized, easy-to-access first aid items and advanced airway kits with specialty lightweight laryngoscopes. Amazingly, these kits are designed to fit into backpacks for patient response in remote locations.
Concern for the well being and safety of runners extends beyond race day. Medical Crew recently designed and hosted a specialty wilderness first aid course for trail runners. I believe that events like this will continue to have positive effects throughout the running community, since prevention and awareness are key to mitigating the risks of trail running.
A wide range of injuries and illnesses occur at every event, from blisters to fractures, even CPR. The most common issues are circulatory, muscular fatigue, and tendon and ligament problems. While wisdom is gained through experience, Medical Crew does have some advice to share with burgeoning runners:
- Be aware of the physical and psychological requirements of a race/trail
- Know your limits and recognize signals from your body telling you to stop
- Be aware that nutrition and fluid intake may have to be adjusted based on the race, weather, your current physical condition.
- Always carry the required equipment. Keep this equipment complete and operational during the entire race.
- If you have any discomfort or insecurity about your well-being or situation, consider moving towards easily accessible points on the trail. i.e. food stations, trailheads, roads.
So the next time you sign up for an organized trail event, remember to think of the medical team that has your safety in mind. It is often a thankless job - maybe you can thank the next one you see.
As always, stay safe and enjoy many adventures from your friends at Base Medical.
Written by Teal Brooks, Base Medical CEO and Wilderness Paramedic
Medical Crew GbR and more information can be found at: http://www.medical-crew.com/WordPress/