Wheeling Hospital takes charge of Ogden Race medical tent

WHEELING — In the heat of competition, even the most well-trained athletes may overlook what their bodies are telling them in the name of reaching their goal.

But those hitting the streets of Wheeling May 27 for the 41st-annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic should know they’ll be under the watchful eyes of numerous Wheeling Hospital physicians and resident physicians during this year’s race, as the hospital has joined the race this year as a major sponsor. The medical tent near the start/finish line at 14th and Main streets will be under the direction of Dr. James Comerci, who’s in charge of the hospital’s family medicine residency program.

“We saw it as an opportunity to help out with a very respected event here in the valley,” hospital spokesman Gregg Warren of partnering with the Ogden race. “We have the medical expertise. Dr. Comerci’s handled many similar events in the past. He’s our resident expert on these types of activities.”

“We are very excited to have Wheeling Hospital on board as a major race sponsor this year, and the fact they will be supervising the medical tent will benefit all of our runners and walkers in this year’s Ogden Half Marathon Classic,” said Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.

The hospital will have four physicians — including two who specialize in sports medicine, led by Dr. Enoch Chang — and four residents present on race day. They’ll be observing runners and walkers as they cross the finish line, determining who may need assistance and directing them to the proper help. Comerci said doctors also will be out on the course with race officials during the event, looking for signs of distress.

Comerci said one of the primary goals, in addition to coordinating with emergency responders and watching for signs of more catastrophic problems such as cardiac issues, will be to take care of minor ailments such as blisters and abrasions before they turn into major issues, such as infections.

A lot will depend on weather conditions for race day, as well, he said.

“If it’s a warm day, we’ll see heat-related issues. … Along the race, you might see muscle cramps, and you’ll see those at the end of the race, as well,” Comerci said.

Wheeling Hospital staff also will be handing out information during the race on proper training methods, according to Comerci.

“If you’re going to run a race like this, you need to be reasonably prepared for it,” he said.

For example, Comerci recommends half marathon participants start training at least three to four months before the race. That includes proper sleep and nutrition, as well as exercise.

He said a runner should run a distance equivalent to the race they’re entering at least once before the event, and should be able to run at least 75 percent of the distance regularly.

Registration for this year’s race is available at ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.

Ogden race events on May 27 begin with the Half Marathon Walk at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Half Marathon Run and Run Relay at 8 a.m., the 5K Run/Walk at 8:15 a.m. and the mile-long Ogden Fun Run at 8:20 a.m. All those events begin and end at 14th and Main streets, with the exception of the Fun Run, which begins at 14th and Main but ends on Water Street.

Registration for the Tiny Tot Trot, a 100-yard dash for children 5 and under, begins at 8 a.m. and the trot takes place at 9 a.m. on Water Street near Heritage Port. Warren said a pediatrician also will be on hand for that event.


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