Valencia Marathon announces its full medical and healthcare service for the Elite Edition

27 November, 2020

The Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP Elite Editionpresent the full range of the medical and healthcare services that will employed in the lead up to and during this event in which around 300 professional athletes will participate on 6 December, a special edition marked by restrictions and safety measures to combat the risks posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic

After announcing that its route is to be reduced to one lap (half marathon) and two laps (marathon) and that there is to be restricted access for the public to the start and finish areas in the City of Arts and Sciences, the Organisers laid out the different measures and actions that will be implemented to create a health bubble around the elite runners, as well as the exceptional security measures to be employed to guarantee a great sporting event with minimal health risks, which will also protect the people who will work in this event. This is of vital importance since, for many of the athletes who will travel to Valencia, the objective is Olympic classification.

The event will have its own medical service, coordinated by Luis Cort, medical manager for the Valencia Marathon, who has been part of the international working group to address the holding of post-COVID-19 sporting events, and who has designed a strict medical protocol. “The risk is moderated when we apply the prevention measures for this race, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about a race that does not pose a risk to the city“, said Dr. Cort, who explained in detail the protocol and medical and health services this Elite Edition will have.

International athletes, arriving from more than 40 countries around the world, must take a PCR test at origin and send it to Circular-Lab, the external consultancy that will collaborate with this testing to collect all the data and guarantee, where necessary, the traceability of the athletes’ steps from their origin to their destination in Valencia. Luis Samaranch, the marketing director for this advanced digital platform, which allows a large amount of data to be integrated, digitised and interpreted, stated that “with Connect by Circular-Lab we have the certainty of controlling any possible risk, since we have all the necessary information in real time, allowing us to anticipate any situation with protocols clearly defined by artificial intelligence tools”.

This is the second time that Valencia City of Running has relied on the Connect by Circular-Lab platform to maintain the safety of a competition, both for the athletes and the people they are in contact with, after the NN Valencia World Record Day, which was held successfully. This tool offers the security of holding a mass event free from Covid, which is possible thanks to the establishment of protocols that are pre-designed and adapted to all the phases of the competition, from prevention, detection, performance and adaptation should an athlete test positive.

Upon arrival in Valencia, all the athletes, coaches and managers will be isolated in the two bubble hotels that the Organisers have set aside for this event (with the AC Hotel Valencia as the main headquarters for the elite runners), where they will again be subjected to a PCR test prior to participation in the race. To do this, Bionos Biotech, the laboratory responsible for ensuring that the test is carried out with the highest standards of health safety, will be available.

Bionos will undertake PCR analyses from nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal samples, to identify the presence of Covid-19 in the athletes who will participate, as well as in the people they are in contact with (trainers, managers, etc.). José Luis Mullor, the scientific director with Laboratorio Bionos, located in La Fe Hospital in València, explained that the “PCR tests will be carried out in accordance with the highest safety standards, they are the reference test with the highest sensitivity for the control of the virus. The results will be available on the same day as the sampling, 48 hours before the race, to ensure it is conducted under “covid-free” conditions.

The sampling will be undertaken on Friday, 4 December at the hotels where the athletes will be staying, with the results provided on the same day as sampling and no athlete with a positive result will take part in the event on Sunday.

A tracking device for the organisers

In addition, Movistar, the technological sponsor of the race, will provide the Organisers with a thousand units of its distance control and traceability device that will allow anonymous monitoring of all the personnel accredited for the event. The device emits a notifying light or sound when the 2m safety distance is not being maintained between the devices and allows any possible positive cases and their close contacts to be tracked and traced post-event, which will help health authorities locate potential positive cases among those involved in organising the race.

José Manuel Plaza, the regional manager for Telefónica in the Comunitat Valenciana, explained the advantages of this novel device, which is is being used for the first time in an outdoor event of this magnitude: “This is the first of three years in which Movistar joins the Valencia Half Marathon and Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP, and in such a special year, as a technology company we want our innovation to bring value to people and the athletes. Which is why we will contribute to this year’s competition by providing this Covid distance control and traceability system based on beacon technology and low-energy Bluetooth“.

This system is capable of giving an alert in real time if there is a breach of the safe distance between participants and of notifying a person who has had contact with a diagnosed case of Covid-19. All this through a cloud service with encrypted data that complies 100% with the General Data Protection Regulation. According to Plaza, “this alliance is part of Movistar’s commitment to supporting Spanish sport and promoting the use of technology as the best ally of athletes and organisers”.

Finally, the event will have a vital contribution from the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation, which will send Álvaro del Pozo, the Covid-19 delegate for this Elite Edition, to the event. Del Pozo states that “my role has been created now because we could not stop”. “We have to look after the general interest of athletics and this is why we are establishing strict protocols,” he added.

In addition, Farmacia Ribera, a partner of the race for four years, will provide the consumable materials necessary to comply with the health measures being implemented. From FFP2 masks and nitrile gloves for the staff who need them to body temperature control stations for sensitive areas at the event.

Cleanity will provide the event with the necessary materials to offer the optimal solutions in hygiene and disinfection in the most important areas of the race. The company is supporting the Marathon with hydro-alcoholic hand sanitising solutions as well as automatic dispensers.

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