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Trendsetter in the medical service

Medical director Dr. Willi Heepe: The chance of dying during a marathon is actually lower than in normal life.


“In a recent US study it was announced that the chance of dying during a marathon is actually lower than in normal life. It is no longer legitimate to talk about the greater danger to marathon runners,” declared the long-time medical director of the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON on Wednesday during a press conference. Willi Heepe additionally said: “The real,- BERLIN-MARATHON is one of the safest running events in Germany, thanks to the excellent team made up of SCC RUNNING, the police, the German Red Cross and the fire department.

It is nonetheless up to each participant to take advantage of medical control check-ups, to listen to his body, and to take family health conditions seriously. The real,- BERLIN MARATHON offers optimal safety precautions.“

“There is no other running event in the world that offers the participants as much care as at the real,- BERLIN MARATHON. We still hope to continue to extend this high standard in the future”, announced Jürgen Lock, who as the director of SCC RUNNING also heads the organisation of all medical precautions.

Additional organisation duties of the medical board are performed by chief doctor Dr. Willi Heepe, Dr. Helmar Wauer of the Charité hospital, as well as Dr. Lars Brechtel from the Berlin Humboldt University, who heads the scientific studies accompanying the marathon.
As in previous years, the basis of the work of the medical board lies in systematic quality management. Jürgen Lock described the method with which the medical support has been further optimised year for year: “First we carefully analysed the past marathons, identified the main injuries to runners and skaters, and ascertained where the main problems lie.“

Like in the past, the organisers system is based mainly on a tight net of stationary first aid stations as well as a large number of mobile emergency personnel. The German Red Cross heads the operative management on site on both event days, together with the Berlin fire department, which has been included in the operational planning for seven months.

Every three kilometres there will be a first aid station
While primarily mobile emergency vehicles and doctors on bikes will be underway supplying emergency care along the first kilometres of the course, starting at kilometre 15 every three kilometres there will be a first aid station with at least one or two doctors.
For the last six kilometres, the distance between the first aid stations is further reduced to one kilometre. The cycling doctors will be mostly providing the runners medical assistance like band-aid distribution, minor medication and other support measures, rather than emergency first aid measures. But these doctors will naturally also provide emergency care if necessary.
A further core of the emergency care are the 20 fire department patrols ready to do all that is humanly possible to help in case of an emergency along the course, and who—like all of other medical teams—will be in constant contact with the control centre.

All vehicles and patrols are equipped with defibrillators, which can be life saving for sudden cardiac arrest. The company Philips provides the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON with the medical emergency equipment for the mobile units of the fire department.
The medical care in the tent city in the finish area was planned with special attention. Over the past few years the primary areas of treatment have been documented both qualitatively and quantitatively.

“On the course on Sunday there will be a defibrillator available every 500 metres in case reanimation is necessary,” said Lars Brechtel, but added: “There is no 100% guarantee, not anywhere in life.”
Ideally, of course, there would not be any accidents or complications on the course. For this reason the medical board sees one of its main duties in education and prevention.

Final check-up
Discussion forums with well-known speakers will be presenting background information at the BERLIN VITAL fair. In addition, the runners will have the opportunity there to get a final check-up before the start. “For the layman it is hardly possible to realistically judge the severity of complaints that arise shortly before the race. If there is any doubt, we always suggest getting a doctor’s opinion and approval to start," advises Jürgen Lock.
Medical Care in Numbers

680 Emergency personnel
400 Litres of massage oil
300 Physiotherapists
150 Emergency medics
70 Doctors (including 14 doctors on bikes, 3 doctors on motorcycles)

20 Emergency vehicles of the fire department and the German Red Cross

10 First aid stations

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