WSMR Public Affairs
The following recommendations are based on the observations of doctors, nurses and medics who assist along the march route.
This is a rigorous and demanding event. You should be in good health to participate. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease; if you are on regular medications or if you have medication allergies, please legibly write down this information, place it in a zip lock bag and pin the bag to your marching outfit. That way if you pass out on the route, the medics will have a better idea of how to care for you.
Since the march begins before sunup, the temperature will be cool at the start of the day. By 9 a.m. it will begin getting warmer and be relatively hot by noon. Light, layered clothing is a good idea. It is recommended to wear a hat which provides shade to your head and neck, such as a “boonie” hat. Bring and use sunscreen. Your face, neck and shoulders are especially vulnerable. Sweating will wash the sunscreen off, so reapply it frequently.
Plan for the possibility of high winds with blowing dust. Include a bandana and eye protection in your pack. Those with a history of reactive airway disease or pulmonary dysfunction should consult their physician before this event. Blowing dust may, in some cases, trigger acute respiratory events. Make sure to keep any prescribed medications needed in case of such an attack with you during the march. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses.
It is also a good idea to bring a pair of flip flops for after the event as you may not be able to put your shoes back on.
Those who are driving to White Sands Missile Range by themselves, it is recommended you have a plan in the event you are medically evacuated on how you will get back to the Missile Range to pick up your vehicle. It is recommended that marchers plan on staying the night after the march as exhaustion will increase safety risks-falling asleep while driving, cramps while driving, blisters on the feet, etc.
Eating and Drinking
Avoid alcohol for 48 hours before the march. Avoid caffeinated beverages for 24 hours before the march. Both alcohol and caffeine will dehydrate you. Carbohydrate load at least 48 hours prior to the march. Drink a lot of water the day before and the morning of the march, and drink at every water point. Sport drinks are good, as are oranges and other juicy fruits. You will lose more time due to muscle cramps and dehydration than you will lose by stopping to drink at every opportunity.
You should have at least 100 miles on your marching footwear before doing this march. This ensures that your gear is broken in and you will know where you will get “hot spots.” Carry some pre-cut moleskin pieces to fit these areas, and apply it before the “hot spot” develops. Some marchers find that knee-high nylons next to the skin under absorbent socks are effective in preventing blisters. Some marchers recommend applying an extra-dry deodorant to your feet to reduce or prevent sweating; others recommend foot powder. Experiment during your training to see what works best for you. If you get blisters, stop at an aid tent and get them treated before continuing on. Believe us, it will save you time further down the trail. If you come upon a disabled marcher in the trail, note the location and report this information to personnel at the next water point or to a roving patrol so we can send a vehicle to retrieve them. We will have emergency vehicles at each aid station and an air ambulance at the White Sands medical clinic. Persons needing hospitalization will be taken either to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, or to William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. If you have questions regarding your health and participation in this event, consult your physician.