Safety Tips

Safety Tips

Medical Guidance
This is a rigorous and demanding event. It is much more difficult than a “typical” run/walk marathon event of similar distance due to the terrain, elevation, and changing weather conditions. You must be in good health to participate. In the past participants sustained injuries because they underestimated the physical demands of this event. The MMMM team recommends all participants consult their individual physician to educate themselves about medical issues and risks relating to this event. Only a physician, who is familiar with your personal medical history, your current health, your medications, and your specific medical condition and risk factors, can advise you as to whether you are fit to participate safely and the precautions and preparations you should take.

Heat-related illnesses are a significant threat. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to properly cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating. However, under some conditions sweating is not enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs and result in death.

Individuals at increased risk for heat related illnesses are those with poor fitness (unable to run 2 miles in less than 16 minutes), overweight, and age greater than 40.

Before the race consider that additional individual factors that prevent safe and successful participation in the event are drinking alcoholic beverages within the last 24 hours, lack of recent quality sleep, recent illness (even minor), and taking over the counter or prescription medications known as decongestants or antihistamines within 72 hours of the event. These factors greatly contribute to the participant’s risk of heat injury. If you develop any of these issues you should not participate.

During the race if you experience any of the symptoms of impending heat illness such as headache, muscle cramps, weakness, heat sensation on the upper body, lightheadedness, confusion, blurred vision, shortness of breath, nausea, or vomiting stop and seek medical assistance.

The responsibilities of every participant:
1. Consult your physician.
2. Ensure an emergency contact person is part of your registration.
3. Listen to the weather forecast. Know the risks and plan accordingly when running/marching during humid conditions regardless of the temperature. Heat-related illnesses are life threatening conditions. Adjust your pace and hydration plan accordingly.
4. Develop and implement your individual plan for hydration. Be prepared to adjust your plan given the weather conditions and how you are feeling during the event.
5. If you experience or feel you are about to experience a medical problem, ask for help immediately. It is foolish and dangerous to proceed despite warning symptoms.
6. Help your fellow participants.

Additional Tips:
Drink plenty of liquids – DRINK BOTH WATER AND SPORTS DRINKS. Do not drink only water.  If you march and sweat for a long time and drink only water, you can dilute your body’s electrolytes, which can lead to weakness, nausea and confusion.  Remember, by the time you are thirsty, it’s too late!

For more information on preventing heat injury, visit the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine website.

Listen to your body!  See a medic if you are not feeling well.

Listen to your feet!  Take care of hot spots before they turn into nasty blisters.

Watch your step.  Beware of rough terrain.

Be respectful of wildlife along the route.  You may see critters ranging from those native to the area, such as rabbits and snakes, to black bears. 

If you see a marcher who needs aid, help them.  Report injured or ill marchers to race officials.

There are 7 (7 for the 26.2 mile distance, 3 for the 13.1 mile distance, and 1 for the 10 KM distance) water points along the route – make sure you drink plenty of liquids. The greatest danger to marchers is dehydration because of the humidity and heat.  DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages the night prior to the march.

A condition called hyponatremia can be induced by over hydration with water exclusively.  This lowers sodium levels in the bloodstream and can lead to seizure and convulsion activity.  Marchers can avoid this condition by taking sports drinks containing essential electrolytes such as potassium, chloride, and magnesium.

Watch your step.  Be aware of loose rocks, drop-offs, and other hazards.   Also be aware of “smaller” problems such as wasps or bees.  If you are allergic to bee stings, carry your bee sting kit with you.

Anyone who becomes injured should remain on the route until medical attention arrives from the nearest water point to avoid further injury.  Anyone who witnesses an unsafe act or an injured marcher will immediately report the situation to the nearest water point or roving patrol.

Keeping your feet clean and dry throughout the march will help avoid blisters.  Change sweaty socks during the march and consider using a quality foot powder or even antiperspirant on your feet to help control sweating.  Above all, don’t try anything new (e.g., new shoes, new type of socks, new insoles or flexible orthotics) on the day of the march.  If you have not trained with it, do not use it.

The MMMM route is not a closed route.  Vehicle traffic will be present on parts of the route.  Please be aware and alert at all times.  If you are using headphones during the march take extra caution when marching in areas where traffic may be present.

Support vehicles are now allowed on the route.  Support vehicles may not lead or trail teams or marchers.  They may however, stage along the route and provide food, water or other drinks to the marchers.  Support vehicles cannot hinder other marchers, block or hinder vehicle traffic, park on private property or cause any damage to the terrain.  If a support vehicle violates any of these rules they will be asked to leave the route.  If the support vehicle violates any traffic laws the local authorities will ticket the driver.

Support vehicles may not provide equipment to marchers or runners.  Participants must carry any changes of socks, boots or other equipment with them.  If a participant needs medical aid the support vehicle should pick the participant up and move them to the nearest water point.  The support vehicle may provide medical care for minor injuries or conditions, blisters, lacerations etc.  However, if the participant enters the support vehicle he/she is disqualified.

If the driver of a support vehicle suspects any participant is in danger of serious injury they may pick-up the participant and move them to the nearest water point.  If the participant refuses to leave the route, the driver should call the MMMM EOC, inform the EOC personnel of their concerns and the location of the participant.  The EOC will send a MMMM staff member to evaluate the situation.