But Capt. Bruce Adams, the medical director of the Marine Corps Marathon, which takes place in Washington, D.C. in October, said that many of the medical professionals at an event the size and scope of Boston's would likely have some level of emergency medical experience and training.
"You see a mix of training and specialties across the board, but it's common practice in medical centers to require at least some training in advanced cardiac life support," he said.
Adams also said that large racing events have medical plans in place that include contingencies for mass casualties such as those seen in Boston.
"In a situation like what happened in Boston we immediately dialog with local emergency medical authorities to figure out what assets are needed and where to mobilize our resources," Adams said. "We defer to local authorities, but we have planned and trained for such events in the same way hospitals do."
Davis said that she, along with the rest of Boston Marathon medical volunteers, was required to attend a meeting before marathon day, where team leaders discussed various roles and plans of action in detail. Yet all her preparation and training did not prepare her for what she witnessed.
"I'm sorry for the people that were hurt. It was really hard to see. I've never experienced anything like that before," she said.
But she said it wouldn't stop her from supporting the race. She loves being part of the marathon, and she loves being there to help the runners.
"It's why we are all in medicine, to transform someone in pain or sickness to feeling better," she said.