St John Ambulance is now putting the finishing touches to its biggest first aid challenge of the year - ensuring top quality medical cover for the Virgin London Marathon.
The nation's leading first aid charity will be providing more than 1,000 volunteers for this year's event on Sunday 21 April.
They will include first aiders, doctors, nurses and paramedics who will man 45 ambulances and 52 first aid posts including three advanced treatment centres with high-tech life support facilities similar to those of a military field hospital.
St John Ambulance London Regional Event Manager Katherine Eaton said: ‘With around 36,000 runners taking part in this year’s marathon, it’s our job to make sure that anyone needing help gets fast and effective first aid.
‘That’s a marathon task in itself but our volunteers are trained and ready to deal with every conceivable illness and injury from cramps and sprains to major medical emergencies.’
St John Ambulance volunteers from all over the country will be on duty with approximately one volunteer for every 35 metres of the 26.2 mile course
The charity will also have 30 Cycle Responders on duty, capable of reaching casualties quickly in dense crowds. Their bicycles are specially equipped with first aid kits which include medical gases and automated external defibrillators.
Anyone needing first aid during the race should seek help at one of St John Ambulance’s treatment centres, signposted along the route.
Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the Virgin London Marathon, said: ‘We’re delighted to have St John Ambulance on board once again this year. They are a trusted partner when it comes to the health of the runners and spectators. No-one wants to need them but everyone’s hugely relieved to know they’re on hand when there’s a medical mishap or emergency.’
‘We’ve been working closely with them over the years to ensure this is an event which can be enjoyed by tens of thousands of people in a safe and fun environment. Their contribution to making that happen on the day is invaluable.’
During last year's event the St John Ambulance team treated casualties for a range of problems including medical conditions commonly associated with endurance events – from dehydration and stress fractures through to exercise-induced collapses.
St John Ambulance has been providing first aid for the London Marathon throughout the 32-year history of the race.