The Boston Athletic Association has relied on the Red Cross for decades to support its athletes on the course. Medically trained personnel staff first aid tents all along the route -- handing out Vaseline for chafed skin, water and Gatorade, warming runners whose temperatures have crashed or tending to sunburns, blisters and other minor problems.
In 2012, the big story was the heat. For the first time in its history, the B.A.A. offered deferments for runners who had not trained for the intense heat and humidity of the day. Red Cross volunteers had extra ice on hand to help overheated runners get stabilized before being taken to area hospitals -- and then heating up runners whose temperatures had crashed. First aid responders in 26 locations, working with HAM radio operators, worked hard to keep themselves and the athletes hydrated.
In 2013, when the bombs went off at the finish line, runners were stopped on the course. Red Cross medical tents became a place where suddenly cold and hungry runners had very different needs. And those trained in psychological first aid were helping to calm athletes who had come from all over the country to find their dream of "finishing Boston" halted.
The American Red Cross will be there in 2014, in medical tents on the sidelines, helping to cheer on the runners, and to support the athletes, fans and supporters of the Boston Marathon. For those medically trained personnel who wish to volunteer with the American Red Cross, visit our volunteer page to find volunteer opportunities in the Boston area.
Do you want to learn first aid? You can at the American Red Cross. Sign up for a class today.