By Abelardo Balcazar
Hundreds of participants out of the approximately 5,600 registered for the 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March March 20 won’t make it to the finish line because of dehydration.
McAfee Clinic’s Deputy Commander for Clinical Services Lt. Col. Leonard Grado 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.
“If you get dehydrated during the event then it’s too late. Plan on hydrating prior, during and after Bataan,” Grado advised. “I recommend both water and sports drink for participants. 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. Grado emphasized the medical teams will also have the ability to disqualify marchers.
“For heat injuries or dehydration, oral hydration is preferred. However, if IV fluids are needed it’s an automatic medical disqualification and the participant will not be allowed to finish the course. We will put a big X on their number identifier,” Grado said.
“You need to prepare your body so it is ready for the actual event,” Grado said. “The most important thing is to train well ahead of time. I recommend beginning training at least 6 weeks in advance. Many participants will carb load and hydrate the week of an event 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 foot blisters, sprained ankles and knees. We will have tape, mole skin and ointments to wrap them up and get the participant back on the course,” Grado said.
Grado also recommends participants check the weather report the night before and plan to dress accordingly for the event. “Dress in layers. Then as the day 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 Grado 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/