To:                 All M&T Bank Vermont City Marathon & Relay Runners

From:            Katie Dolbec, MD, FACEP, CAQSM; Medical Director

Alison O’Connor Sutherland, ATC, AEMT; Medical Coordinator

Important Race Information and Logistics

2 Person Relay Teams

3-5 Person Relay Teams



The 2023 M&T Bank Vermont City Marathon Medical Team is a group of dedicated volunteer medical personnel available to assist you on race day. Our Team provides rapid assessment and treatment of your medical needs during the marathon.


No matter how fit you feel on race day, this information could help us save your life should something happen to you on the course.


Medical Stations on the Course

Medical tents are located at the start and finish area in Waterfront Park, at Champlain Elementary School (miles 2 and 15), and Leddy Park (miles 10.5 and 23.5). In addition to these tents, medical aid stations are located throughout the course (about every 1.5 - 2 miles). The aid stations are staffed with two medical personnel who can be identified by their red vests. Please do not hesitate to seek help or ask any questions – we are here to help you!



The weather at this time of year can be unpredictable. Be sure to check the local forecast and plan accordingly. The average low temperature for May 28 in Burlington is 50 degrees and average high is 72 degrees. Race officials will monitor the temperature, humidity and radiant heat to determine the risk of weather-related danger to participants. Please look for signs posted at each aid station indicating the current alert.


Rules about Fluids

Physiological function and performance are compromised as a result of dehydration. Therefore, it is necessary to ingest fluids during exercise to maintain physiologic function. However, hydration is highly personalized and variable. The best recommendation is the simplest: drink when you are thirsty. Ideally you should come into the race well-hydrated, and your urine before the race should be clear to light yellow. In addition to drinking water, taking in fluids that contain electrolytes and sugar during the race can be helpful for endurance events lasting greater than 2 hours. However, it is possible to drink too much, so be careful not to overdo it!



What is hyponatremia?  Hyponatremia is a disorder of fluid-electrolyte balance that results in a dangerously low sodium concentration in the blood.

What causes hyponatremia in athletes?  Excessive drinking, sodium loss from sweating, and the kidney’s limited capacity to excrete water will dilute sodium in the body’s fluids.

Who is at risk? Athletes that drink too much before and during prolonged exercise and “salty sweaters” are at risk. Research has shown that females, runners with a slight build, runners taking over 4 hours to complete the course, and those taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) may be particularly susceptible to this risk.

What are the symptoms?  Nausea, vomiting, throbbing headache, dizziness, severe fatigue, swollen hands and feet, wheezy breathing, confusion, disorientation, and lack of coordination may all be seen with hyponatremia. In severe cases, it may result in seizure, respiratory arrest, coma and even death.  Symptoms can occur up to 24 hours after an endurance event.


How Do You Prevent Hyponatremia? 

·       Do not overhydrate; listen to your body. If you’re not thirsty, you are probably adequately hydrated. 

·       Drink a sports drink that contains sodium. Do not rely solely on water for endurance events longer than 2 hours.

·       Do not restrict salt in your diet. Examples of high sodium foods are potato/corn chips, pretzels, tomato juice/sauce, chicken noodle soup, miso soup, and chicken broth.

·       Do not take NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen), or any anti-inflammatory medications before, during or after the race. Acetaminophen may be taken safely.


Heat-Related Illnesses

A spectrum of exertional heat related illnesses (EHI) exists, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and exertional heat stroke. One does not go from one to the next in a continuum. Heat exhaustion is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms which may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, mild confusion, etc. This usually resolves with cooling and rest. Exertional heat stroke is a life-threatening illness which presents with mental status change and core body temperature at or above 104 degrees. We have seen a lot of exertional heat illness at this event. We’ve seen it happen early in the race, on cool days, and to experienced and well-trained runners. One of the best ways to prevent EHI is acclimatization. Individuals who have been training indoors or in cooler weather are at an increased risk of developing EHI. Maintaining proper hydration is also key to preventing EHI. Listen to your body, slow down if necessary, and seek medical help for any concerns.


Pain Relievers

Medical research has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. may be harmful to a runner’s kidney function if taken within 24 hours of an event. NSAIDs are thought to increase the risk of hyponatremia during endurance activities by causing decreased blood flow to the kidneys and interfering with a hormone that helps the body retain salt. Therefore, it is recommended that on race day (after midnight on race day) you do not use any analgesic but acetaminophen (Tylenol) if needed. NSAIDs may be taken again 6 hours after you have finished the race providing you are able to drink without nausea or vomiting, have urinated once, and are feeling physically and mentally well.  


After you Cross the Finish Line

Runners should continue to walk for at least 15-20 minutes after finishing the race. Standing still or stopping can cause you to feel nauseous, dizzy, and weak. Endurance athletes may experience syncope or fainting immediately after completing a race if they don’t continue to walk. Walking will help to redirect the blood pooling in your legs back to vital organs, including your brain. Drink fluids slowly as tolerated. If you think you need help, ask one of our medical personnel at the finish. After your initial walking period, some experts agree that slowly stretching your leg muscles will assist in the reduction of cramps and post-race soreness. Post-event massage continues to be controversial. Most experts agree that a massage within the first 2 hours after the race does not prevent muscle soreness.



The Medical Team is here to help! Please stop by the medical tents if you need help or have questions. We're here for you! At each and every medical station on race day will be medical professionals to help you along the way.