“Our antennae are a little more tuned to visual problems.” Patroller James Wojciechowski
Ski patrollers have been providing volunteer medical services at the Pittsburg Marathon since 2013. They are valuable assets at the finishing line with the ability to spot potential medical emergencies from small visual cues according to the Pittsberg Post Gazette.
Boyce Park ski patrol director and unofficial head of ski patrol volunteers at the race, Pat Bocardi, had this to say about their role,“All runners who run marathons look bad. We’re looking for the baddest of the bad.”
Since ski patrollers are often working with injured people mostly covered up winter gear, they are especially attuned to small visual clues about their subjects’ condition. That paired with their experience working in often adverse and chaotic conditions make them erfect candidates for spotting and quickly assessing troubled runners at a busy marathon finishing line.
Over 25,000 runners competed in the race on Sunday, with roughly 1-3% of them experiencing some type of medical emergency on course.
“This is a planned disaster. You have thousands of people running at you,” said the director of finish line medical care and rapid response team, Eli Friedman. He went on to give a sweeping endorsement for ski patrollers, “If people have the possibility to use ski patrols at their finish line, they should do it. This should be a national model, absolutely.”
Ski patrol and marathons make a great pairing. We hope to hear more stories like this in the future.