I had the opportunity to work the medical tent at the finish line of the NYC half marathon last Sunday. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a 13.1 mile run through the island of Manhattan, starting in Central Park, travelling south through Times Square, and along the West Side Highway for a finish in the financial district. And for nearly 15,000 runners, it was a great day in NYC.
For me it was an opportunity to connect with runners on the ground, at the front lines of a big NYC event sponsored by the New York Road Runners, the club that is responsible for many NYC races, including the NYC marathon. At the finish line medical tent, the podiatry students who worked with me as part of their training saw the usual litany of lower extremity finish line maladies and running injuries- blisters, nail trauma, tendonitis, heel pain, and the most common complaint: aching muscles that needed a bag of ice. Of course the tent was fully staffed with physical therapists, nurses, emergency room physicians and an assortment of medical specialists ready to tackle everything from the routine to the life threatening.
It was also a great chance to see the behind the scenes operation of a great machine- the New York Road Runners, and one of their major events. Any event of this scale requires a team of highly skilled and dedicated individuals working in sync, and like an elite runner, they make it look easy. It’s also some thrill to witness the winners crossing the finish line, and to see the elite runners following the winner by a few short minutes. It was a cold day, hovering in the low 30’s, but these guys were dressed for a warm day and sweating. And the physique of the elite early finsishers is nothing short of very impressive- defined, devoid of fat, and enjoying their moment- “born to run” indeed.
There is one more benefit to working the half marathon, and I must admit this was the deal I couldn’t refuse. For working this year’s half marathon, I am guaranteed entry into next year’s half marathon, and that is no easy feat for an event, like many of the NYC running events, for which there are far more applicants than available spots. Oh, and I got a T-shirt.
See you at the NYC half 2014.
Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson