By Luciano Vera
Hundreds of participants out of the 5,200 registered for the 26th annual Bataan Memorial Death March on March 22 won’t make it to the finish line because of dehydration.
Deputy Commander for McAfee Clinical Services, Lt. Col. Culton Reid said that with all the preparation White Sands Missile Range conducts every year to ensure the march is a success, individual responsibility is key to crossing the finish line.
“Well if you get dehydrated during the event then it’s too late. Plan on hydrating prior, during and after Bataan,” Reid said. “I recommend the 50/50 mixture to all my patients or athletes. The sports drink has the electrolytes you need but also a lot of sugar so the water balances it out.”
Medical teams will be posted in tents every couple miles throughout the course and the clinic will have roving teams in vehicles monitoring participants. Reid emphasized the medical teams will also have the ability to disqualify marchers.
“For heat injuries or dehydration we first try to treat this orally. But if they need an IV then it’s an automatic medical disqualification and they will not be allowed to finish the course. We will put a big X on their number identifier,” Reid said.
“You need to prepare your body so it is ready for the actual event,” Reid said. “The most important thing is to train well ahead of time. I recommend training at least 6 weeks in advance and building up. Lots of athletes the week of an event will carb load and hydrate to ensure their body has enough fuel. “
Every year medical teams prepare for all sorts of scenarios the day of the march but historically foot injuries top the list.
“We treat a lot of feet for blisters, sprained ankles and knees. We will have tape and mole skin on hand and ointments to wrap them up and get the participant back on the trail,” Reid said.
Lt Col Reid also recommends participants check the weather report the night before and plan to dress accordingly for the event. “Dress in layers for the morning and that way as it warms up you can remove layers and pack them in your backpack or rucksack. Ensure you use sunscreen, a hat, and shades to protect your skin.”
After the march Reid advises participants to listen to their body and take a few days to recover. For more tips click on the Surviving Bataan Tab on the Bataan March homepage: http://www.bataanmarch.com/