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Helmut Schmidt, Published May 19 2012

Cool weather makes for few marathon medical issues

FARGO – Temperatures in the mid- to upper-50s and new race starting times made life relatively boring Saturday for medical workers at this year’s Fargo Marathon.

“We had a real good day,” said Sonya Drechsel, the event’s medical director. “We were kind of bored. We’re emergency room people.”

Drechsel, an emergency room nurse for Fargo’s Sanford Health, said she and other medical personnel treated about 40 people at the Fargodome finish area, about half the norm for the annual marathon.

In fact, event planners had ramped up their preparations after Friday evening’s scorching 90-plus degrees for the 5K-run, bringing in extra intravenous fluids.

“We thought we’d be really busy,” Drechsel said. “If that (Friday’s high temps) had been today, we would have been swamped.”

Instead, only five runners needed IV fluids, compared with about 60 at a typical Fargo Marathon, she said.

Don Martin, field supervisor for F-M Ambulance, said five people were taken to Fargo’s Sanford or Essentia hospitals Saturday for medical issues – two taken from points along the marathon or half marathon routes, and three from the Fargodome.

“Very quiet, thankfully,” Martin said.

Drechsel said having the half marathon start at 7:30 a.m. and the marathon at 8:15 a.m. this year evened out how the finishers from both races arrived.

Last year, the finishers for both races came in a mass that ended up swamping the Fargodome medical area and taxing hospital emergency rooms, she said.

Drechsel said last year’s race was run in humid conditions, which was hard on runners. She said this year’s area participants also benefitted from a mild, warm spring for training, leaving them more acclimated to heat.

“I don’t expect we’ll ever have a day like this ever again,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583