Medical Instructions

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

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.

Approximately 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. Complete the medical information on the back of your race bib. Please leave your headphones and ipods of 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 guidelines indicating the weather conditions. These flags are based upon the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) readings which combine temperature and humidity. 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. Do not stand for an extended period in wet clothing.

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

If you have any health or pulmonary concerns which may be affected by air quality, visit the National Weather Service website at or call 1-703-996-2200 ext. 1.

Prevention of Physical Problems

  • Don’t run to exhaustion during the week before this race.
    Avoid fatty foods the night before and morning of the race.
  • Consume at least 600 grams of carbohydrate for 3-4 days prior to competition.
  • Warm up before the race with light running followed by stretching your calf, hamstring, quadricep, groin, and trunk muscles. If your muscles tighten or cramp during the run, stop and stretch. If that does not relieve cramps, stop at an aid or medical station.
  • 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 an aid station for care. If a blister gets infected, it can be literally life threatening, so have blisters treated at an aid station.
  • 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.

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. If you become thirsty, you are behind in fluid replenishment. Drink up to 16 ounces of fluid (preferably a sports drink containing sodium and electrolytes) 2 hours before the race. Water and Gatorade G-Series Perform will be available at the race site before the start, at 5 aid stations on the course (at 2.5 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 7.5 miles and 8.75 miles), and at the finish. In addition, DrinkMore water and Gatorade G-Series Perform will be available at the finish.

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. Race officials and medical personnel at every aid station are in radio and telephone contact with our medical team. Ambulances and roving bike teams are located on the course. Medical personnel are running in the race and will be wearing white hats with a red cross. They will respond to medical emergencies.

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

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

Injured Runners

Injured runners will be transported either to the medical tent at the finish line or to George Washington 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 202-577-1108.

Notice: Any race official has the authority to remove any runner whom he feels is at medical risk.