25 September 2009
Julian Holmes-TaylorMore than 350 Red Cross volunteers were on hand to provide first aid support for thousands of runners at the BUPA Great North Run on 20 September.
A record 54,000 competitors embarked on the challenge, and a huge team of first aiders were stationed at 23 first aid posts along the 13.1 mile course.
They were equipped with 21 ambulances, a 70-bed mobile field hospital, ten physios to offer post-race treatment and even a podiatrist. Throughout the day, they treated 700 casualties with all kinds of injuries, ranging from simple strains and sprains to more serious ailments.
As well as providing first aid support, the Red Cross also fielded its largest ever running team. More than 400 competitors took on the challenge, aiming to raise £100,000 for the organisation.
One of the fundraising runners, Nick Baker, was surprised to find his partner Sophie – and two-year-old daughter, Lilly – were not at the finish line to meet him.
Nick recalled: “It turned out that, while making her way to cheer me over the line with Lilly in a backpack, Sophie fell over in a hole in the ground. Luckily, the first aiders were there in seconds and, by the time I crossed the line, she was half-way to hospital to have her badly swollen ankle X-rayed.”
He added: “Sophie was full of praise for the Red Cross and St John's volunteers who were on hand to look after both the spectators and the runners. I’m glad that’s where my sponsorship money is going.”
Judi Evans, operations director, added: “We’re enormously grateful to all our volunteers and hope that the enjoyment people got from the event this year will secure their commitment next year.”
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