Dehydration usually isn't a problem for 10Ks, but given the June-like weather the Lowcountry has experienced this month, the Cooper River Bridge Run's medical coordinator expressed concern last week.

“If it's above 60 degrees at race time, our water stations will get hammered,” says Al Hawkins, who has coordinated doctors, nurses and emergency staff for the Bridge Run for 22 years. “The important thing people need to remember is hydration starts two or three days before a race in warm weather, and not just before or during a race.”

In addition to drinking water and consuming electrolytes, namely sodium and potassium, Hawkins says runners and walkers also may want to ease up on caffeine and alcohol consumption prior to the race.

Hawkins says most preventable medical issues arise from participants in the middle of the pack, or more specifically, the middle third. The first third tends to be well-conditioned and are tuned into their abilities. The back third tends to take it easy, enjoying views and taking time to drink water along the course.

“The middle third gets worried about someone passing them. They think they can run faster, but often haven't trained better,” says Hawkins.

Of course, how much fluid someone should consume has been the source of the debate for years, in large part because everyone is different physiologically. A good standard is a visual urine test. If urine is light yellow, one tends to be well-hydrated. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration, and clear urine is a sign of being depleted of electrolytes, caused by drinking too much water.

Experienced runners often drink an electrolyte beverage, such as a sports drink, an hour or two before a race. For those wanting something that's not sweet and calorie-laden, the locally based BANa water (available at Piggly Wiggly and Bi-Lo stores) is an alternative. Even a swig or two of pickle juice before the race will do the trick.

Reach David Quick at 937-5516 or dquick@postandcourier.com.