Scientists and staff with the Korey Stringer Institute will be conducting studies again this year during New Balance Falmouth Road Race.
The institute, based at the University of Connecticut, studies conditions and exercise habits that can lead to heat-related illnesses and was founded in memory of Korey D. Stringer, an NFL football player who died from complications associated with heat stroke during a game.
This is the fifth year that the institute has come to the road race for collaborative studies.
The Falmouth Road Race, which is relatively short and where people can exert themselves to finish in the hot humid month of August, offers a venue to study ways to prevent heat illness, explained Yuri Hosokawa, vice president of communications and education with the institute.
The institute’s weekend here started Thursday, August 17, where staff presented at the New Balance Falmouth Road Race Sports Medicine Symposium, held with Falmouth Hospital, which staffs the race medical tent.
“It’s an opportunity for runners interested in the science behind running in the heat and medical professionals to receive continuing credit,” Dr. Hosokawa said.
The institute is conducting two studies at the race. The surveillance study, being done for a second year in a row, is following a number of racers as they prepared and trained after watching an informational video on healthy and safe tips for exercising in the heat.
Scientists will follow up with the racers after the race to learn how they felt during the race and how the pre-race information affected their training and experience. Every person who registers for the road race received a study survey. As of Tuesday of this week Dr. Hosokawa said that about 2,000 runners were participating.
“We appreciate their interest and support and hope to get 80 percent response for the post-race,” Dr. Hosokawa said.
Study results will be shared with the Falmouth Road Race and medical staff to better inform pre-race education programs, Dr. Hosokawa said.
The second project selected about 30 runners, ages 20 to 65, for a more in-depth exercise study.
These participants visited the University of Connecticut campus for exercise testing at slower and faster paces to monitor cardiovascular fitness and how these athletes respond to heat and humidity. Their lab results will be compared to data gathered during and after the race.
Dr. Hosokawa said many studies look at the elite runners; here, the institute is following competitive recreational runners, who make up a majority of the race participants.
Medical practices developed at the race to treat heat illness with no fatalities have become the gold standard, she said.
“The Falmouth Road Race sets the standard for medical professionals on how to prepare for exertion-related heat illness,” Dr. Hosokawa said.