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Sunday, August 17, 2003

Volunteers add air of relief

Runners needing help receive first-class aid


ROCKS AND A HARD PLACE: Runners Steven Fossel, front, 35, of Evergreen, and Mark Pohlman, 32, of Great Bend, Kan., compete close to the end of the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday.

As the 3-hour mark came during the 48 th running of the Pikes Peak Ascent, runners started crossing the finish line by twos, sometimes by threes. Some stumble as they cross the finish line and some collapse a few feet after. And someone was always there to help.

Ascent volunteers helped winded runners who crossed the finish line to the emergency care center that was set up at the summit.

“We treat hypoxia, which is having low oxygen,” said Judy Bauermeister, a registered nurse and one of the race’s medical staff volunteers. “We treat hypothermia, which is feeling cold. We have oxygen tanks, blankets. We treat muscle cramps and lacerations caused by falls.”

The care center was equipped with three cots, a few chairs, eight oxygen tanks and supplies for hydration and cuts.

“We also have an ambulance outside to treat any cardiac problem,” said Dr. John Reasoner.

“We are able to transport a person down the mountain fast.”

Along with Reasoner, the medical coordinator, the care center is staffed with another medical doctor, two physicians, one physician assistant, two medical assistants, three registered nurses and three emergency medical transporters.

Reasoner said the most common problem runners come in for is “oxygen deprivation” and the bulk of the runners who need treatment come between the third and sixth hour of the race.

Sister Marian Irvine, 73, a Catholic nun from San Rafael, Calif., was the oldest runner to complete the Ascent, at 6:25:33. Dorrie Edgerton, 71, of Aztec, N.M., finished at 6:19:54.

Among the men, Donald Fichtel, 70, of Monument, came in at 4:17:42. Dale Goering, 73, of Santa Fe, N.M., finished at 4:29:19 and Lyle Langlois, 73, of Phoenix, finished at 5:32:36.

Seven-time champ out
Scott Elliot of Boulder backed out of the Ascent because he came down with strep throat in July and could not recover in time.

Elliot finished fifth in last year’s race.

Wheels on the bus
Race director Ron Ilgen said there were 45 vans and eight to 10 buses to transport people to and from Manitou Springs and the summit of Pikes Peak. Spectators couldn’t drive to the summit, and instead had to park at Devil’s Playground, which is just above timberline. From there, vans took people to and from the summit.

Spectators and runners who wanted to go to Manitou Springs from the summit had to ride vans to the bottom of Pikes Peak and transfer to yellow school buses, which stopped at Soda Springs Park and Memorial Park.


Copyright 2003, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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