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Doctor stresses prevention as key to race-day safety

by Shawn Yonker

SPORTS WRITER

After last year's Greater Clarksburg 10K, two entrants were admitted to the hospital and numerous runners were treated on site for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

This week's speaker for the 10 weeks to the 10K program hopes to reduce those numbers by educating runners on the problems that they can experience during the race.

"I am giving them warning signs to look for in themselves and in other runners," Dr. Neal Avlick said. "And I'm letting them know the things they can do to prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion."

He pointed out many things that can help stop a runner from succumbing to the heat.

"Well a class like this is really good," Avlick said. "It is important that they get used to the race course. The big thing is getting acclimated. If you just think that you are going to run on the treadmill inside and then go do a 10K, you won't be able to do it. Amateurs that don't prepare are the ones we have to see in the emergency department."

Avlick talked about the importance of eating a "good breakfast" and drinking lots of water during the race.

"Its important to continue to drink whenever someone hands you something during the race," he said. "Try to get a little bit of Gatorade-type fluid for electrolyte replacement because that will prevent cramps. If you drink too much water with no electrolytes you could get cramps, but the water helps prevent heat stroke, so you really can't drink too much water. The average person that is not a trained athlete loses about a liter of fluid an hour running in this kind of weather."

While Avlick hopes the 10 weeks program helps keep some runners out of the first aid tents, he knows that the weather probably won't cooperate.

"It is probably going to be the hottest, most humid day of the year," Avlick said.

Next Tuesday, the 10 weeks program continues with a class on foot care for runners.

Sports writer Shawn Yonker can be reached at 626-1444.

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