Tips for Monument 10k runners to stay healthy

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thousands of runners are making sure they're ready for the Monument 10k on Saturday, but the recent death of Henrico teenager is not far from many people's minds.

Cameron Gallagher died after completing a half marathon almost two weeks ago. While it's still not clear how she died, it has some runners wondering what they need to do to stay healthy.

Whether you've been running for years or this is your first race, the Monument 10k has been one of the biggest running events in the River City.

Doctors warn that you should listen to your body as you run in these crowds. There is a difference between an ache and a pain.

"If it is unusual, if it is not routine fatigue, you just have to check it out to see what it is," said Dr. Tourage Rafeei with the Center of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Glen Allen. He says you should stop immediately and seek medical attention, especially if there is pain in your chest area.

Dr. Rafeei says runners, especially those older or new to the sport, need to make sure they have been checked out by a doctor. If you ignore the pain, it could become a chronic injury that could take months to recover from.

For runner Michelle Martello, a sprained ankle means no training for several weeks now.

"I was training for the 10k," said Martello. "I was doing maybe three or four runs a week. Then I had my incident, and I haven't been able to do anything for about a month."

Races like this are open to all age groups, and Dr. Rafeei says even if you are young and healthy, deaths have happened. Most recently, 16-year-old Gallagher suddenly died after finishing a half marathon in Virginia Beach.

"Obviously, it's a very sad situation for all of us," said Rafeei. "The reality is, some of them we don't have any control of. We cannot even prevent them because they may not be diagnosable even before this happens."

The best advice from this doctor: tell your physician about any diseases or disorders that run in your family and don't withhold any information.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority says on the day of the 10k, there will be three medical tents: one at Laurel and Franklin streets, another at Allen Street and Monument and Westmoreland and Monument. Medics on bikes will also be on the lookout throughout the race for anyone who may need help. Dr. Rafeei also says runners should not just hydrate but also make sure they are getting the necessary minerals in their bodies like potassium, magnesium and calcium.

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