Northwestern Medicine Physician Leads the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Medical Team

Northwestern Medicine
News October 09, 2013

For the seventh consecutive year, Northwestern Medicine emergency and sports medicine physician George Chiampas, DO, will lead the Bank of America Chicago Marathon* medical team of 1,400 volunteers in ensuring a safe event for the expected 45,000 participants and 1.7 million spectators on October 13.

George Chiampas, DO

“The Bank of America Chicago marathon is a celebration of the wonders of the human body and spirit, but running 26.2 miles will take its toll on even the most prepared runner,” Chiampas said. “It’s important that participants are ready for the event, including some changes to the 2013 race.”

Chiampas suggested the following tips for a healthy race.

Arrive early

The 2013 race features enhanced security as well as restrictions on what participants can bring with them to the start and finish areas. Runners should affix their bibs onto their shirts to easily enter one of four security checkpoints in Grant Park. Also, the clear, plastic event-issued Participant Bag is the only one that will be allowed with race participants into the secured Grant Park participant area.

Eat smart

Pre-race nutrition is critical for a good race. The evening before the race, enjoy a meal full of protein. About two hours before your start time, eat a high protein breakfast with a good balance of carbohydrates and fat. Avoid sugary foods and alcoholic beverages in the days leading up to the race.

Get a good night’s sleep every night during race week

During the week leading up to the marathon, make sure to follow a regular sleep schedule. This will guarantee you are well rested in case pre-marathon jitters stop you from sleeping soundly the night before the race.

Check the weather

Chicago meteorologists are predicting temperatures in the mid-60s for this year’s race. Although it may feel cooler in the morning, it will feel 10 or more degrees warmer once you start, and temperatures will rise throughout the day. Make sure to dress in layers so you’re able to shed clothing as needed. Participants should watch for the Event Alert System (EAS) tips that will be sent out via the Marathon with directions should the weather become dangerous.

Stick with what you know

Now is not the time to try something new in your running routine. Wear clothes and shoes you’ve worn on long runs before and don’t experiment on race day with new foods or drinks.

Pace yourself

Don’t let the excitement of the starting line throw you off your pace. Running at an even pace is most efficient and safest, but be prepared to adjust your pace if weather conditions change.

Hydrate regularly

Both dehydration and over-hydration can pose serious threats to runners. Hyponatermia, which occurs when fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, results in abnormally low blood-sodium levels. When this happens, the body’s water levels rise and cells begin to swell. Race participants who experience symptoms of nausea, dizziness or disorientation should seek medical attention immediately.

Post-race routine

Congratulate yourself after crossing the finish line, and then be sure to stretch thoroughly and ice any sore areas. While you celebrate your accomplishment, eat a meal that is high in protein to help repair muscle damage and start your recovery phase.

As a Level 1 trauma center close to the race route, Northwestern Memorial is among the first-responder hospitals for race day emergencies. Emergency department physicians are prepared for the potential added volume of patients while Chiampas will manage medical needs along the race course. Northwestern Medicine volunteers will also be working with Chiampas on the marathon route

“We want to have a safe and enjoyable experience for those participating in the Bank of America Chicago marathon and the more than 1 million anticipated spectators,” Chiampas said. “We encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with these safety tips and to not hesitate to reach out to the medical staff if they have medical concerns along the race route. We’ll be here on race day if you need us.”

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