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Magen David Adom gears up to prevent casualties at Friday’s Tel Aviv marathon
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
02/26/2014
Last year an officer in the IDF’s Oketz canine unit died during the race; 40,000 set to participate in this year's event.
 
A year after the Tel Aviv Marathon in which a runner died from complications of heat prostration during blisteringly hot weather, Magen David Adom is taking all precautions to prevent a recurrence at this year’s event on Friday.

Last year, Maj. Michael Michaelovich, 29, an officer in the IDF’s Oketz canine unit from Moshav Menuha in the Lachish region, died during the race.

Some 40,000 are expected to participate in at least part of the race, starting off from Rokah Boulevard in the city’s north.

After the Tel Aviv Municipality was criticized by the health authorities for not calling off last year’s event despite the heat, the Health Ministry set up a committee of sports medicine experts to recommend guidelines for running marathons, and the recommendations were adopted.

MDA last year treated a large number of runners who felt unwell or even collapsed; this year, the first-aid organization will be on the highest alert to offer all medical care that is needed, it said. MDA paramedics and medics will be ready to treat injuries, hyperthermia, heart attacks, hypoglycemia and other conditions.

The marathon will conclude in the same area where it begins. The full race for the well trained and professional runners is 42 kilometers long; the half-marathon is 21 kilometers; while the short race is 10 kilometers. Hand-bikers and children will join the shortest race.

Mobile intensive care units, ordinary ambulances, ambucycles and Segway electric scooters will be spread along the longest route to find those who need medical help as quickly as possible, MDA said on Tuesday.

At the finish line, a tent clinic with intensive care beds will be set up and manned by MDA personnel and doctors from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, as will three other tents for treating the lightly injured and those with mild conditions.

For safe running, MDA advised eating a healthful breakfast – a tuna or egg salad sandwich or a plate of pasta and cooked or fried chicken breast – three hours before starting the marathon. A dish of oatmeal made with water and some honey will also ease the effort without being too heavy, MDA said.

It recommended avoiding eating fruit and dairy products, because these take longer to be digested and could cause stomach aches while running. Participants should drink water or isotonic sport drinks and eat energy bars during the race to supply liquid and calories to the muscles.
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