I know I said I was done talking VEGAS. Enough already. But new info keeps emerging, and I think it needs to be acknowledged. If you got sick, please fill out this survey from the Southern Nevada Health District found HERE under “Hot Topics.” They are trying to find the common denominator in this whole thing.
There was an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal today about it. More and more people are pointing the finger at (and giving the finger to) the water pumped from fire hydrants at the aid stations as the reason why so many people got sick. I remember running by and seeing the hose up to the hydrant, but at 8 miles, it didn’t connect in my mind. Apparently using fire hydrant water is very common in races.
An excerpt from the article:
“The water tasted metallic and stale, but runner Charlene Ragsdale needed to replenish her fluids if she were to finish Sunday's half-marathon at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon. Nerves twisted up her stomach, at least, that's what she thought. Suddenly, it wasn't just the taste that didn't seem right, it was the way her body was reacting once she was done drinking.
Soon, the 50-year-old Las Vegan was doubled over from stomach cramps "worse than childbirth." Violent vomiting and explosive diarrhea almost kept her from crossing the finish line. As Ragsdale reached another water station, she saw water being pumped from a nearby fire hydrant with white hoses into a plastic lined garbage can. Event volunteers wearing plastic gloves would dip cups into the cans and pass them off to runners. It didn't look filtered or flushed, and it didn't look safe, she said.
Runners all around her slowed their pace as they, too, struggled and appeared to be in pain. People began throwing up all around her, she said.”
Now I do not feel so crazy. I could not physically eat for almost 24 hours following the race. I had an upset stomach and was queasy. I chalked it up to improper recovery and being cold. Turns out, it might have been something more.
I am not sure we will ever know if the water was the cause or not, but it certainly is a concern. Many times I have seen trash cans at races being filled with water from a hose. I always thought that water from such a source was not potable.
You may think, “So what. It’s over. Get over it.” True, it is over. Yet, if this is truly the reason for so many sick people and overflowing ERs in the Vegas area, then it is relevant for future races be them in Vegas or other spots. It’s inexcusable. When you sign up for a race you are putting yourself in the hands of the race directors, organizers and volunteers to keep you safe, at least with the elements that they can control (lighting, water, crowd management, etc). You should be able to expect that your basic needs will be met.
If you ran the race, I’d like your take. Do you think it was the water?
Have you ever gotten sick after a race and wondered if it was the water or food made available? This has never happened to me before. First time for everything!
I know many people are soured on the Rock and Roll races following this race. This is not the case for me. I don’t think this mishaps makes all Rock ‘n Rolls BAD. Yet, certainly, there are many, many lessons to be learned from this night race in Vegas. I’m curious to see the Competitor Group’s response, if there is one.