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Mobile medics go the extra mile

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-04 08:25

Long-distance running can be a hazardous business, however a group of altruistic Beijing doctors are making China's marathons are an altogether safer experience.

Going by the name of the Beijing Doctors Runners (BDR), these selfless mobile medics enter races around the country, interrupting their runs to come to the aid of ailing fellow participants, sometimes even saving their lives.

"We started the group because we realized lots of runners run with passion but not necessarily sensibly," said Zhu Xishan, the leader of the group and a doctor at Peking University First Hospital.

"Emergencies like cardiac arrest are very common in marathons. We are all trained physicians so we thought, 'why not combine our profession and our passion for marathons?'"

BDR was out in full force during last month's Beijing Marathon, with 80 'doctor runners' and 20 volunteers dealing with around 300 emergencies during the race.

The doctors were divided into two groups, the first of which consisted of 12 small teams of varying paces in order to cover the whole field.

Chen Xue, a surgeon from Beijing Cancer Hospital, stopped her run to treat someone who was experiencing breathing problems and was about to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Thankfully, Chen realized the CPR could be lethal for the patient and decided to give the young man some energy bars and saline instead, which stabilizied him before he was escorted to an ambulance for further treatment.

Since its debut in 2015, BDR has amassed 800 members, who are all medical personnel, with 327 of them possessing doctor degrees. The group has participated in over 40 long-distance running events, with the 500-plus patients who required emergency treatment all surviving to tell the tale.

BDR is now a well-drilled outfit, with regular practice sessions held all over Beijing.

"We routinely organize running practice once a week for our members in seven Beijing parks, including the Olympic Forest Park," said Zhu. "So members who live in different areas of the city can conveniently join the sessions.

"This year we've participated in many major long-distance events, including the Yaopao 24-Hour City Relay and 13 half-marathons."

BDR's message to the public is simple: Be wary of pushing your body too hard.

"Running can become addictive for some people. It can be beneficial to our health too, of course, but only if we run sensibly."

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