New research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine provides marathon medical directors with this race strategy: Train your staff and have an automated external defibrillator handy in the event runners experience sudden cardiac arrest. The survey, which appears in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise® (Vol. 44, No. 10, pages 1843-1845), asked 88 medical directors about the number of incidents, treatments and outcomes they had witnessed during their marathons. Their responses indicate that most SCA episodes occur near the end of races, and that the victim's survival hinges on the availability of early responders and an AED. "Emergency planning with availability of AEDs throughout the race course is recommended, and if resources are limited, focus should be placed in the last four miles of the race, where the majority of sudden cardiac arrests occur," said David Webner, physician and the study's primary researcher, in an ASCM press release. "It is also important for all runners to establish a relationship with a primary care or sports medicine physician prior to marathon participation."

Chicago, Detroit and Tulsa, Okla., in recent years.