Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Looking back... to the Wiesbaden scandal

Yeah, I know. Never look back during the race. But a bit of retrospective after the race is pretty good. So... the Mastboscross. In hindsight (which is 20/20) I probably should have run the 5K, my legs were not yet available, especially since triathlon training resumed this week as well. However, the big bummer is that I must have pulled something when I stumbled (and felt flat on my face) since my right hamstring has been screaming at me since Sunday night. So, I am on self-imposed injury recovery rest until Thursday. (Which gave me time to cook dinner and setup my new coffee machine yesterday, yeah!).
So far, I have raced 15 times since March 2010, from a 5K to a full marathon, with 3 half marathons and a half Ironman in between. So far, I have gotten ill after two of these races (R.I.T.N.Y. 5K and Wiesbaden 70.3) and hurt after one (Mastboscross).

I was looking through my blog's statistics yesterday and found that quiet a few people googling Wiesbaden 70.3 norovirus ended up on my blog. If you remember (or not), I was taken down pretty hard by a stomach bug that I assumed to be norovirus after the race. Through facebook, I found out another person had too. My family was concerned that maybe long distance racing was not for me, since it made me so sick. But yesterday, my interest peeked by those key words, I googled "norovirus nach Wiesbaden 70.3" myself. Apparently there was a scandal going on and I wasn't even aware of it.

I found several articles in the Wiesbadener Kurier and, according to Google translate (my German is non-existent), at least a few 100(!!!) people complained to the race director that they got sick with norovirus after the race. Like me, symptoms started on the Tuesday after the race, and were pretty heavy. According to those articles, they estimate that at least 500 got sick. They suspect it may have been the harbor water.

So my question is: as I scientist, I know causality will be hard to prove. However, if 500 out of 3700 athletes get sick, it is very probable that the race had something to do with it. Shouldn't the race organizers have sent a message, acknowledging some foul-up and offering a promise that it would never happen again?

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