Runners Receive UCSF Care at the SF Marathon

Story and photos by Sarah Craig on August 01, 2012

Many runners agree that the best stretch of the San Francisco Marathon is running over the Golden Gate Bridge, at the very start of the race - leaving 17 miles left to the finish line. “It feels special because they close down the road for you,” says Sabrina Ahmad. “It’s the most surreal feeling.”

Ahmad made this observation while flat on her back on a green cot in UCSF Sport Medicine’s finish line tent, resting from dehydration and exhaustion after the race. She is one of more than 1,000 runners that needs medical attention every year. “I’m in the medical tent today because I pushed myself," she said. "I get competitive while I’m running.” 

On race day, UCSF’s medical team took care of runners with injuries ranging from sore muscles to strained ligaments to an open wound requiring stitches and even, sometimes, to something far more serious. 

While not a contact sport, running can be dangerous. “The rate of cardiac death among runners is between one in 15,000 to one in 50,000,” said Anthony Luke, MD, the medical director for the marathon. “So it’s necessary to give care to the athletes. A lot of people in the Bay Area enjoy this race and its great to be able to do what we can do keep the runners safe.”