As Ray Castle sees it, this weekend’s Louisiana Marathon course is a 26.2 mile Tiger Stadium.
The second-year medical coordinator of the Louisiana Marathon is tasked with ensuring all necessary medical practices and communication present for a Saturday night football game are present throughout the winding course, which takes runners through the city.
“We look at the top level,” Castle said. “Weather conditions are critical. We really look where the athletes are going to have potential issues. EMS is coordinated throughout the whole race, and they’re heavily involved throughout the course. We put medical volunteers so that we can easily respond to or recognize someone who is having difficulty.”
Castle and his team of medical professionals and volunteers will rely on a new Ohio-based 911 Cellular app, also known as Event Shield, to easily communicate and recognize issues throughout the course.
Castle, a veteran athletic trainer who has worked marathons and races across the country, said the app will allow volunteers to hit a button signaling an emergency, which will dispatch EMS to the site. Users also can communicate less serious issues through text, allowing bib numbers and exact symptoms and descriptions to be sent to the medical command center.
He added aid tents will dot the course, and a family relations tent will be available for runners’ relatives to check on injured runners or runners that have finished the race and need medical attention.
“In Tiger Stadium, everybody’s condensed,” Castle said. “We’ve set our plans in place to be mobile and be as comprehensive as possible throughout the course. That’s how we can spot somebody and respond quickly.”
Parking and traffic
The Galvez Garage will be open for free downtown parking Saturday but will return to event rates Sunday.
Parking near the race start and finish line is set to be available on North Street, Main Street and on the north side of the Capitol building.
The starting line address is at the Pentagon Barracks Museum, while the finish is located at the Louisiana State Museum, 660 North 4th St.
Marathon officials expect downtown and the Garden District to only be affected until 9:30 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, officials encourage motorists to avoid the Dalrymple and Washington Street exits on Interstate 10 until about 9 a.m.