Written by Dr. Josh Mularella, DO, FACEP, FAWM, DTM&H - Medical Director, G2G & M2M
There are a few critters you should be aware of during your time in the AZ/UT desert… scorpions and spiders
There are a few species of scorpions in the area but the only one dangerous to humans is the bark spider which is found along the course at G2G. Scorpions seek shelter from the heat during the day then come out at night to feed. At least once a year I will see runners huddled in a circle at base camp taking photos of these tiny creatures. They are not aggressive like you may see in movies. Most stings, in fact, are accidental… so make sure you check your shoes in the morning before putting them on!
While scorpion stings can be dangerous to the very young/old, most of you would just experience a lot of pain. These stings can be so painful that it may even end your race. So don’t get stung!
There are seven species of venomous snakes at G2G and all of them are Crotalids (rattlesnakes). Rattlesnake venom can contain up to 100 various chemicals that primarily cause local tissue destruction, inflammation and systemic bleeding. Approximately 25% of bites are considered “dry bites” meaning no venom is injected.
I am not going to try and teach you how to recognize venomous snakes from nonvenomous snakes. Just assume they are all venomous. And if it’s rattling at you, well, duh…
Snakes are cold blooded and often times they can be found sunbathing on the rocks, especially early/late in the day. It is very tempting while at running at G2G to keep your gaze in the distance at the beautiful scenery but you really need to watch where you are putting your feet. This is especially true for the front runners. Every year I hear stories about how a runner so a snake at the last second and managed to jump over it and keep going. Snakes can strike at a distance of half their length, so I recommend going around!
Snakes know you are too big for them to eat and therefore prefer not to deal with you. They will only bite you in self defense. If you come up to a snake, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS RATTLING AT YOU, back away slowly and take the long way around it. And please, especially for the women, look around before you squat down to pee!
The management of snakebites at G2G from my perspective is quite simple… if you were bitten by a rattlesnake that is a medical emergency. You may very well need to be evacuated off the course to receive Crofab (rattlesnake antidote). Therefore the medical team and Kane Search and Rescue need to get to you ASAP.
IF YOU GET BITTEN:
● Photos would be helpful if you can get one (from a distance) but do not get bit again in the process!
● Run, or at least walk quickly, to the nearest checkpoint. If there is a possibility the previous checkpoint has closed, then move on to the next checkpoint.
● DO NOT try and capture/kill the snake
● DO NOT try to suck out the venom
● DO NOT make any type of pressure/tourniquet bandage
● DO NOT sit down and wait for help (this will cause a huge delay in getting you off the course)
Leave the local wildlife alone and they will leave you alone. Over the past 7 years at G2G there have not been any scorpion stings or rattlesnake bites… let’s keep it that way! But again, if you get bit by a snake, you need to keep moving to the next checkpoint.