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Pittsburgh Marathon Information

UPMC Sports Medicine is the official medical sponsor of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, as it has been for every Pittsburgh Marathon. Here are some facts about our participation:


About the medical team

  • UPMC Sports Medicine, along with the UPMC Department of Emergency Medicine and City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, leads a team of more than 250 medical volunteers from UPMC and other local hospitals and EMS bureaus providing care for the 18,000+ registered runners and walkers.
  • The medical team — all volunteering their time and skill — consists of:
        • Physicians
        • Nurses
        • Emergency medical technicians
        • Paramedics
        • Podiatrists
        • Certified athletic trainers
        • Physical therapists
        • Massage therapists
        • Medical, nursing, and certified athletic training students
  • Key medical team officials efficiently communicate with each other during the race thanks to a network of more than 100 amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide a crucial chain of communication that enables team members to quickly manage any situation.
  • Many members of the medical team have been working together each year since the first race in 1985.

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Race-day medical services

  • The medical team arranges to have enough equipment and personnel to staff 17 medical aid stations along the course and a medical tent near the finish line.
  • The medical tent will include sections for:
    • Sports medicine
    • Acute care
    • General medicine
  • Next to the medical tent will be a unit especially for the wheelchair athletes, staffed by a group of specialists from the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.
  • The City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of EMS and volunteer EMS personnel from surrounding communities will provide and operate more than 25 ambulances on race day.
  • The medical team expects to use the following supplies, provided by UPMC Sports Medicine, for runners on race day:
    • 18,000 blankets
    • 4,600 alcohol wipes
    • 5,000 pairs of surgical gloves
    • 2,000 ice bags
    • 2,100 lancets to treat blisters
    • 7,600 Band-aids
    • 200 IVs
    • 600 towels
    • 150 cots
    • 475 Ace wraps
    • 250 rolls of cloth tape
    • 47 bottles of hand sanitizer
    • 40 containers of antibacterial cleaning wipes
    • 100 jars of petroleum jelly

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Medical problems and injuries

  • About 1 to 3 percent of marathon runners require some type of medical attention during the race. Most injuries and illnesses are not serious.
  • Runners’ most common problems involve:
    • Muscle cramping
    • Overuse sprains and strains
    • Blisters
    • Stomach cramping
    • Non-adequate fluid replacement
  • On race day, the volume and types of injuries largely depend on weather conditions. Generally, warmer weather means a larger number of medical problems for non-elite runners not yet acclimatized to the heat.
  • Marathon uses a universal flag system that signals weather conditions and precautions for runners. The flags are displayed at each aid station.
  • For each Pittsburgh Marathon, UPMC Sports Medicine provides a series of free seminars to help both novice and experienced marathoners with their training. The seminars cover topics such as:
    • Injury prevention and treatment
    • Nutrition
    • Mental training
    • Performance optimization

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