Cold water baths "saved lives" in Dam tot Dam run

Dam tot Damloop runners on Nieuwe Leeuwarderweg
Dam tot Damloop runners on Nieuwe Leeuwarderweg. (Photo: Milliped/Wikimedia Commons)

The use of cold water baths in the unseasonably warm Dam tot Dam run between Amsterdam and Zaandam on Sunday was very successful. Overheating runners could quickly dunk in the bath and cool down. "I don't rule out that it saved lives", Ron van der Jagt, director of organizer Le Champion, said to RTL Nieuws.

The Dam tot Damloop is running event that spans just over 16 kilometers from Amsterdam to Zaandam. The warm weather on Sunday had a major impact on the event. One participant was resuscitated at the finish line and taken to hospital. This person is now doing well under the circumstances, according to the broadcaster.

Some 4 thousand of the total 46 thousand participants could not take part in the run at all. The emergency services and first aid staff working at the event had their hands too full and the last group of participants were not allowed to start. Van der Jagt called this "super annoying" for the disappointed runners. "But luckily we also received a lot of support and appreciation for this decision, even from people who couldn't start", he said.

The cold water baths were a major help, according to Van der Jagt. This was the first time Le Campion experimented with them. Four cold water baths were stationed along the route, two in the last kilometer and two after the finish line. About ten runners made use of these baths, under the supervision of a doctor. This is a medical treatment for people are on the verge of losing consciousness and whose body heat is above 40 degrees, he explained to the broadcaster. "It was nice to see how quickly people recovered after such a bath."

The experiment will be evaluated by all parties involved in the coming period, but Van der Jagt expects that the cold water baths will again be used at future running events. 

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