More than 1,000 St John Ambulance volunteers, working with the London Ambulance Service and Virgin London Marathon medical teams, treated more than 5,000 runners and spectators at this year’s event.
St John Ambulance London Regional Events Manager Katherine Eaton said: ‘Most of the runners who needed treatment were suffering from cramp, sprains, exhaustion and vomiting. More than 40 competitors were taken to hospital suffering from more serious conditions including exercise associated collapse and suspected fractures.
‘This year’s casualty figure is slightly higher than last year when 4,850 people received treatment. This is because during the early part of the race we saw warmer weather than last year.'
The huge first aid operation enabled many runners - who might otherwise have been forced to withdraw from the race due to minor injury or illness - to cross the finishing line. It also prevented the London Ambulance Service and local hospitals from being overwhelmed with casualties.
The St John Ambulance team included first aiders, doctors, nurses and paramedics who provided cover for 45 ambulances and 52 first aid posts. At the finish line there were three advanced treatment centres with medical facilities similar to those of a military field hospital.
The charity also had 32 cycle response teams on duty, with bicycles specially equipped with first aid kits including medical gases and automated external defibrillators.
St John Ambulance volunteers from all over the country were on duty with approximately one volunteer for every 35 metres of the 26.2 mile course.
Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the Virgin London Marathon, said: ‘We worked closely with St John Ambulance to ensure this was an event enjoyed by tens of thousands of people in a safe and fun environment. Their contribution to making that happen on the day was invaluable. They did a fantastic job.’
St John Ambulance has been providing first aid for the London Marathon throughout the 32-year history of the race.