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February 20, 2009
On your mark, get set, go!
After a five-year hiatus, avid runners are eagerly anticipating the return of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 3. At its peak, the Pittsburgh Marathon — which premiered in 1985 but ceased in 2004 due to financial issues — attracted more than 4,000 runners.
This year, as race organizers prepare for the marathon’s triumphant return, UPMC is proud to contribute to the event’s success by serving as the marathon’s primary medical provider. While planning and coordination with city officials are a must, volunteers are also necessary for the event to run smoothly. You don’t have to be a clinician to volunteer. People are needed to distribute water, blankets, and other items; route guides are also needed. Anyone with an interest is encouraged to lend a hand.
From its inception, Vince Mosesso, MD, emergency medicine physician at UPMC Presbyterian, has volunteered as a medical aid for the marathon. “You are involved in a special event that helps promote the city and portrays a positive image to the rest of the county. It’s an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning.”
Excitement of the day and sense of giving back while volunteering kept Dr. Mosesso coming back to volunteer with the marathon year after year prior to its cessation in 2004. “It’s an opportunity to practice a little different type of medicine and I enjoy the camaraderie of people coming together in a non-work environment.” Dr. Mosesso says he enjoyed working as an EMT and being in the field, and loves having the chance to be involved. “Participating in the marathon on the sidelines gives you the opportunity to run into old friends and colleagues.”
In some cases, it has been a runner that becomes a volunteer. In 2004, Abe Friedman, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UPMC Shadyside was running in the marathon and maintaining a personal best pace when he approached a collapsed runner on the course. In a split second, he had to make a decision whether to be Abe Friedman the runner or Abe Friedman the doctor. “When I came across this situation, I said to myself, ‘You’re a doctor,’ so I had to help,” he remembers.
In spite of such occurrences, volunteering during the Pittsburgh Marathon is a great time, says Dr. Friedman. “You’ll be involved and in the thick of things. You’ll be treating people, caring for people. It’s a wonderful time and a great day overall,” He adds that volunteers are a necessity to an event. “Without volunteers, the race simply can’t go on.”
Both physicians say that volunteering is a great experience. It affords the opportunity to work with a variety of medical personnel, colleagues, and to make new friends while gaining a new perspective in a more relaxed atmosphere than the typical emergency department, or hospital unit.
For more information about how you can volunteer, contact the Pittsburgh Marathon Office at 412-392-1021 or visit the marathon website at: www.pittsburghmarathon.com/Volunteer.htm.