Race Day 101


by Dr. Ed Kornoelke | Medical Director, Gazelle Girl Half Marathon

Race day is coming soon! You are putting in the training, now it is time to have fun—and be safe. As the official medical provider for the race, Metro Health Sports Medicine will be providing medical care along the course and at the Start/Finish line. Look for our orange banners if you are in need of medical attention. LIFE EMS will also be providing care throughout the course. Have a great run, and look over the following guidelines.

Replace Fluids Safely! In longer walks and runs, a lot of sweat is lost. Sweat contains both water and electrolytes. Both need to be replaced to avoid medical complications. If this is done solely with water, an imbalance may occur—too much water, not enough sodium. To avoid this problem, we suggest the following:

  • Drink 16 ounces of fluid 1-2 hours prior to starting the race.
  • Drink another 8 ounces 1/2 hour prior to the race.
  • During the race, drink no more than 3-6 oz per mile (3 oz if you weigh about 100 pounds and 6 oz if you weigh about 200 pounds).
  • Adjust the rate of fluid intake to race pace: slower race pace = slower drinking rate (8 min pace—10-12 oz / 20 min, 9-10 min pace—8 oz /20 min, over 10 min/mile—4-6 oz / 20 min). Aid stations may be closer together than this—you do not have to drink at each one.
  • Consider using a sports drink (GU Hydration will be available at all the Aid Stations) to replenish fluid—it has the electrolytes already mixed in.

Medication use: Be cautious about taking anti-inflammatories/NSAIDS (like Motrin, Advil, ibuprofen, Aleve) 24 hours prior to a race. During exercise, the kidneys play a key role in regulating electrolytes to prevent dehydration. NSAIDS affect the kidneys’ ability to regulate these electrolytes & can cause other medical problems. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) is OK. Avoid anti-diarrheal and cold medicines as well as they can have a dehydrating effect.

Be smart—listen to your body. If you don’t feel right, your body may be trying to tell you that it’s time to stop and get checked out. There are medical teams every few miles along the course (look for the orange Metro Health flags) whose goal is to help you finish the race safely. Most runners who spend time at a medical Aid Station finish the race—don’t be afraid to stop. We all want you to run again in the future!

Final thoughts: There are numerous things that runners do to enhance performance and stay healthy. The question is—Do they work? Here are a few things that appear to be true: Running is the best way to train for running. Weight training appears to enhance running performance. Cross training is good to do when injured to stay in shape, and to add training days for those who cannot run more than 3-4 days a week. Core work appears to reduce injury risk, particularly if there is already weakness present. Finally, just have fun. Running is readily available and good for you—don’t make it complicated!

If you (or your child) are injured we have locations with sports med doctors all over town—check us out at www.metrohealth.net for more information. We are also seeing patients at the Metro Health Sports Medicine Center inside the Spartan Stores YMCA at the Metro Health Village. Call 252-7778 for more information or to schedule an appointment. While we are a convenient and comprehensive location for high school athletes, we are open to all, young and old. And don’t forget about Injury Wise at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids every Wednesday night from 6-8 PM. These are brief one on one sessions open to active individuals of all ages and sports. Contact Gazelle Sports for more information.

Be active!


Edwin-Kornoelje-sportsDr Kornoelje has always had a passion for sports. Throughout his school career, he was involved in several sports including track and soccer, both as a player and aacoach. As such, he has been exposed to both the participant mentality as well as the injury side of Sports Medicine.

This passion for sport inspired him to enter the medical profession. He graduated from Calvin College & earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. As a family practice physician, he then completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at Metro Health Hospital.

Dr. Kornoelje currently serves as the Medical Director for Metro Health Sports Medicine, and is also the team physician for the Grand Rapids Griffins, West Michigan Whitecaps, Grand Rapids Rampage & West Michigan Edge. In addition to working with several area colleges & high schools, Dr. Kornoelje also serves as Medical Director for many local community events, including the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.

Dr. Kornoelje has continued to find time to run as well as play & coach soccer in the midst of running a busy practice. This gives him a more hands on approach in his field as he works hard to find a balance between treating athletes as well as being an athlete. Since becoming involved with the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon, Dr K has competed in one full marathon and three half marathons, with two more full marathons on the schedule. If he can do it, so can you!