Medical Instructions

In order to make the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run safe and enjoyable, the following medical guidelines are provided:

Infectious Disease Warning

In consideration of your fellow runners as well as yourself, please do not run this race if you have a fever or any other symptoms of an infectious disease. You may send an email to to discuss alternative options. Our medical team urges you to think about your own safety and the safety of others in assessing any symptoms you may have just prior to the run.

Preparation and Safety

Runners participating in this race should have prepared adequately. During the month before the race, your training should include a minimum of two runs that are at least two-thirds the length of this race. Untrained entrants should not attempt the course. Over 15,000 runners will be on the course, so run defensively, watch for others, and yield if necessary. Watch for potholes on the course. Pace yourself and don’t burn out by starting too fast. Fill out the medical information form on the back of your race bib. Leave your headphones and Ipods at home.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity can affect the performance and safety of runners. Warm temperatures and high humidity increase the incidence of heat related injuries. The race medical team will monitor weather conditions and by 7:05 A.M. will announce and post colored flags based on American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines indicating the weather conditions at the start-finish line platform. These flags are based upon Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) readings which combine temperature and humidity. Flag conditions may be based on anticipated weather conditions up to the 10:30 A.M. conclusion of the race as temperatures likely will rise during the race. Precautions for each color flag are listed below.

Black Flag: Extreme risk. WBGT in excess of 82-degrees F. Event may be cancelled, shortened, or turned into a non- competitive fun run (no times recorded). Prize money will not be awarded.

Red Flag: High risk. WBGT between 73 – 82 degrees F. Runners who are sensitive to heat or humidity should consider not participating. All competitors should reduce their pace by 45-50 seconds per mile.

Yellow: Moderate risk. WBGT between 63 – 72 degrees F. Runners should use caution as both conditions are likely to rise during the race. They should be able to recognize significant changes in physical condition that may indicate heat-related problems.

Green: Low risk. WBGT below 63 degrees F. 

White: Risk of hypothermia. WBGT less than 50 degrees F. Wear multiple light layers to preserve body heat.

Air Quality

In the presence of excess pollution or pollen, vigorous physical activity may be hazardous to individuals, particularly those with heart or respiratory problems. Symptoms may include irritation of the eyes, nose, throat; cough; labored breathing; dizziness; fatigue; and severe headache.

Area Weather Information

In the presence of excess pollution or pollen, vigorous physical activity may be hazardous to individuals, particularly those with heart or respiratory problems. If you have any health or pulmonary concerns which may be affected by air quality, contact the weather service for up-to-the-minute details on conditions at

Prevention of Physical Problems

Don’t run to exhaustion during the week before this race.

Runners may benefit from ‘carbo-loading’ by eating larger amounts of carbohydrate (about 8-10g carbohydrates per kg of body weight per day = 630g carbohydrates for a person weighing 70 kg (154 lbs) at 9g carbohydrates/kg/day) for 2-3 days prior to competition.

Warm up before the race with light running followed by stretching your calf, hamstring, quadriceps, groin, and trunk muscles. If your muscles tighten or cramp during the run, stop and stretch. If that does not relieve cramps, stop at a medical station located at every water stop (see map).

Blisters can be prevented by wearing well-fitting, broken-in shoes, and soft lightweight socks. Remove pebbles immediately. Toenails should be trimmed. If you feel a hot spot developing, stop at a medical station for care.

Chafing occurs where clothing rubs against the skin. Prevent chafing by wearing loose-fitting clothes and applying petroleum jelly or protective bandaging to areas such as nipples, armpits, neckline, groin, and feet. Medical stations will be able to provide this as well as blister care.

Fluid Replenishment

Know your own individual fluid replacement needs. You should ascertain how much fluid your body needs during your preparation for the race. Don’t become dehydrated. Drink adequately for a few days prior to the run. Drink up to 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours before the race. Gatorade Endurance Formula is the official sports beverage of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom and replenishes sodium and electrolytes lost during the run. During the run, drink at a rate close to your sweat rate to account for fluid losses but not so much to gain weight. Too much water during the race can cause severe electrolyte problems. Gatorade Endurance Formula and water will be available at the race site before the start, at 5 aid stations on the 10 mile course (approximately at 2.5 miles, 4.25 miles, 6 miles, 7.75 miles and 8.85 miles), at one on-course station (at 2 miles) in the 5K, and at the finish areas of both races.

Recognition of Physical Problems

While every runner will experience varying degrees of discomfort, significant changes in physical status should be recognized. If in doubt, stop to ask for advice.

Symptoms of heat injury: piloerection (hair on end or gooseflesh) on the chest or upper arms; chilling; headache or throbbing pressure; unsteadiness; vomiting or nausea; labored breathing; faintness; muscle cramps; excessive fatigue, excessive or lack of sweating; confusion/irritability; or lightheadedness. Do not continue running with these symptoms, or you may collapse or become unconscious. 

Symptoms of overexertion: nausea; vomiting; extreme breathlessness; dizziness; unusual fatigue or headache.

Location of Medical Facilities

Medical personnel for before or after the 10 mile or the 5K Run-Walk are located at a fully-staffed Main Medical tent located on the Washington Monument Grounds in the 10 mile pre- and post race staging area (about 200 yards past the finish line). On the course medical aid is available at every aid station (2.5 miles, 4.25 miles, 6 miles, 7.75 miles and 8.85 miles in the 10 mile, and at the start-finish line near 15th and Jefferson Dr.) There is a medical tent in the staging area of the 5K Run-Walk. Medical spotters will be positioned at the finish line and will quickly transport runners in need to the Main Medical tent. Ambulances and roving bike teams are located on the course. Medical personnel are running in the race and will be wearing medical bibs or caps (white with red cross) and black fanny packs. They will respond to medical emergencies. Medical spotters in elevated “lifeguard” chairs will be in the post-race area.

Injured Runners

Injured runners will be transported either to the Main Medical tent located in the 10 mile post-race area on the Washington Monument Grounds near 15th  St. and Constitution Ave., or, if deemed necessary, directly to George Washington University Medical Center (Emergency Room Number: 202-715-4911) unless it is full. In that event, Emergency Responders will determine the closest available hospital. All runners are asked to help by reporting injuries or downed runners to medical personnel, sentries or aid station personnel along the course. To report a runner needing medical attention call Race Unified Command Center (UCC) at 202-577-1108. Family members of participants should be aware that HIPAA laws mean race organizers will have only minimal information about runners transported to local hospitals.

Notice: Any race official has the authority to remove any runner who is thought to be at medical risk.