Brown, et al 2011 had 419 marathon runners complete a survey on race day. This was used to gather different data. First, the average age of men and women were 41 and 38 respectively indicating that marathon running is popular with a slightly older sports crowd. They had trained 6.8 months for this race and had run for 9.8 years. 1 in 3 had never run a marathon before and 16.9% had run only 1 other marathon- this is important to know. Consider if 50% of the people participating in an event have little to no experience. They are more likely to dehydrate, pass out, miss turns along the route, etc. Of the runners who had run more than 1 marathon before, 19% had to go to the injury tent during the race- 31.5% of those for dehydration!
Here is where it gets even more concerning, 54.9% and 64.3% of runners were not concerned with musculoskeletal injuries or dehydration. 88.7% did not know their sweat rate and 67.8% did not weight themselves. 81.3% had no method to measure hydration.
Keeping in mind that almost half a million people in the US complete marathons every year, injury prevention and hydration are important factors. 135 runners reported some sort of injury during the last training cycle, 77.6% of those were minor (indicating that 32.4% of the injuries were moderate-severe). 72.9% reported at least 1 injury in the last running season. 71% of runners drank a mix of water and sports drinks on race day while 17.7% planned on drinking only water. This demonstrates that the majority of those participating in this new and evolving sport are completely unaware of the risks associated with water and salt imbalance. Marathon organizations should begin including information on rehydration and risks associated with dehydration and hyponatremia. If their participants are not aware and not taking precautions and 1/3 of those requiring medical resources even amongst the experienced are still having this problem, clearly they are not prepared for this element of the sport.