The 38th London Marathon will be taking place this weekend in what could be the hottest event on record. 

London marathon bridge Cropped

calendar-icon 19 April 2018

47,000 entrants will be running the 26.2 mile distance on Sunday with weather set to beat the previous high of 21C in 2007.
Professor Sanjay Sharma of St George’s, University of London is the Medical Director of the London Marathon and in charge of coordinating medical support for the race. His role is to ensure that everyone runs as safely as possible and he has issued important advice on preventing heatstroke.

Professor Sharma said: “I’m advising runners to dress very lightly on Sunday. They should avoid wearing costumes if possible, stay well-hydrated and drink only according to thirst, since overdrinking can also be harmful. Meanwhile anyone who has suffered heat stroke previously should not run, or run very slowly. The same goes for anyone who has had an illness with a high temperature in the past week.” Professor Sharma also suggested that runners should not worry about achieving personal bests this year.

Heatstroke can occur when the body’s mechanisms to cool itself during exercise become insufficient, typically when the surrounding temperature is high. If the body temperature rises to 40 C it can prove fatal. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Professor Sharma explained: “Treatment is by rapid cooling and rehydration. The marathon is well equipped with plenty of ice and water to cool runners but they need to be sensible as well.”

On the ground support will include 160 doctors, 1500 St John Ambulance volunteers and numerous paramedics, cycle responders, physiotherapists and podiatrists. Medical stations will be positioned along the course at intervals of 1km. During the event, medical personnel will aim to help runners achieve their goals safely, providing immediate treatment and enabling them to return to the race, but will also advise runners to stop when necessary for their health, giving urgent care or onward referrals for serious conditions after the race.

Professor Sharma said: “Part of my role is to make sure doctors with the right skills are in attendance. There will be doctors specialising in musculoskeletal problems, sports injuries, intensivists (senior consultants if people become very sick), cardiologists and other specialists. We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable run on Sunday.”