UAMS Provides Medical Support for Little Rock Marathon

By Kalee Sexton

UAMS volunteers at the Little Rock Marathon

Kim Watson, RN, Ed Horton, RN, and Bethany Reinbolt, RN, volunteer at the Little Rock Marathon.

This was the first year UAMS oversaw medical support for the Little Rock Marathon events.

Race weekend, which is usually held in early March but was pushed to Nov. 20-21 this year due to COVID-19 concerns, consists of several events, including 5K and 10K races on Saturday, and a half- and full marathon on Sunday. The weekend saw a total of 8,216 race participants.

Physical therapists, nurses, sports medicine doctors, residents and other medical personnel from UAMS were on hand throughout race weekend. Three medical stations were set up along the course, with a 10-bed hospital set up at the finish line for runners who needed medical assistance. Medical personnel provided a range of services, including physical therapy, skin management, IV hydration and emergency care.

Racer finishes race

Trenda Ray, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer at UAMS, holds the race tape at the finish line of the Little Rock Marathon.

Trenda Ray, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer at UAMS, helped round up volunteers for the event, and Megan Blagg, assistant nursing director, helped obtain supplies and organize the staff.

Zack Lewis, M.D., an emergency medicine physician, also helped organize UAMS’s effort. He has volunteered with the race in the past and served as a valuable resource for UAMS’s first time providing medical services.

Volunteers also spent their time at the Little Rock Marathon Health & Fitness Expo that took place at the Statehouse Convention Center Nov. 19-20. The expo serves as race headquarters where runners pick up their race packets. It also features several exhibitors showcasing products and services for athletes and health-minded consumers. UAMS staff set up an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill at their booth to show participants how the technology is used to help physical therapy orthopedic patients.

Volunteers at the Little Rock Marathon

Philip McKelvy, PT, shows UAMS PA student Ashley Hewitt how the AlterG antigravity treadmill is utilized for orthopedic PT patients.

Several UAMS employees also participated in the races, with some running in multiple events throughout the weekend.

During the weekend’s events, UAMS volunteers treated over 100 race participants, most from the half- and full marathons. Two patients received emergency care for potentially life-threatening injuries, and both have since recovered.

Geneva Lamm, the executive director of the Little Rock Marathon, said it is important to have medical staff on hand for race participants because you never know what could happen to an athlete before, during and after a race.

“Once participants step up to the start line, I want to make sure they are taken care of to the best of our ability. And UAMS was part of the best that we give each year,” Lamm said.