By Travis Duncan
Judy Aker is a Registered Nurse at Memorial Hospital who has been taking care of runners in the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon for the past 13 years. She said the kinds of injuries the 20-member crew of RNs, paramedics, and EMTs, see during the Ascent and Marathon depends on where the runners are on the mountain.
“At the top you’ll see hypothermia, dizziness, and nausea,” she said. “At the bottom, you’ll see trail rash, lacerations, fractures, and dehydration. People don’t hurt themselves going up. But coming down, they’re going all out and they just fall.”
Aker has a lot of empathy for those who injure themselves during the race. She is also a runner herself who’s sustained injuries up on Barr Trail.
“I fell and broke my hand in 2005 running the Marathon,” she said. “There was a dentist from Chicago who stopped and helped me.”
“We’ve seen some ugly ankle and hand fractures … and huge lacerations on heads,” she said. “We have doctors here who will suture at the finish line if possible, so they can go home all sutured up. And we’ll give a lot of IV fluids at the finish today.
Aker said there were members of Emergicare, Memorial Hospital ER, and the Manitou Springs Fire Department volunteering to help runners at the Marathon today.
Michael Everson of Colorado Springs was glad the medical staff was there. He was so dehydrated when he finished that he had to IV lines running into both arms.
"I set a personal best for the Ascent, a personal best for the Marathon and a person best three IV bags at the end of the race," Everson said.
Michael Everson is a beast. I'm so thankful for all of the medical team and search and rescue people on hand. I thankfully didn't need it this year, but I'm sure if I keep doing this long enough I will.