UCSF Keeps Marathoners on Stride

April 12, 2005
Contact: News Office (415) 502-6397

When runners pound their way through the hilly streets for the San Francisco Marathon this summer, UCSF will be there for every athlete's step or misstep along the way. As the race's official medical team, the UCSF Sports Medicine Center along with other UCSF departments will lend their expertise to the thousands of marathoners and half-marathoners participating in the race on July 31st.

"We volunteer to help give back to the community and to support local sporting events," says Dr. Anthony Luke, a primary care specialist at the UCSF Sports Medicine Center. "We hope to encourage healthy, safe activity for all individuals both competitive and recreational. We want runners to know that UCSF and our sports medicine department are interested in promoting activity and preventing injuries."

Last year, 25 UCSF staffers, including orthopedic doctors, trainers, podiatrists, nurses, family practice and orthopedic residents, medical students and even department administrators, volunteered at the race. Most of them woke up at the crack of dawn to set up the medical tents that line the grueling 26.2-mile route.

This year will be no different. UCSF employees will once again work at each station. Most of the injuries seen on race day are typical of long distance running—knee pain, shin splints, muscle pulls, blisters and dehydration. The staff treats patients along the race route but also sees lots of tired and banged up feet and legs by the end of the race.

"The morning is relaxed," says Dr. Luke. "The pace is variable depending on conditions and can be pretty busy at times. As the runners start coming in, you know that the rest of the pack will be coming soon. Then around 3:30 to 5, things start getting busy and the tent fills up with runners with a whole spectrum of injuries. Everyone is working hard but working together and having fun."

For more information about the race, visit www.runsfm.com. For information about sports medicine, visit www.ucsfhealth.org/sportsmedicine and click on "marathons" for training tips.