How to....Get Involved in Event Medicine

Posted by Abbi Forsyth on Dec 09, 2018
Surviving the Death Zone » Surviving The Death Zone

Ultra endurance running events are becoming an increasingly popular past time in the UK. I have been involved in the medical/safety cover for various events over the past couple of years and below are my top 5 tips to get started.

1. Actively seek out opportunities

It can sometime be a little ‘closed shop’ with regards to opportunities and they are seldom advertised in the open. You need to be proactive in seeking opportunities. A simple email or phone call to an event organiser never goes amiss.

2. Research your company

Every event organises their medical cover a little differently and the following, as a start, will need to be considered by you before the event.

  • Who is providing the medical cover? Some events organise this ‘in house’, others will contract this out to an external company. Finding this out will help narrow down who you need to contact to express an interest
  • What other medical care is provided? How big is the medical team? Who will be clinical senior?
  • Have you arranged your medical indemnity (From personal experience discuss this with your indemnity provider early)? If you still need to abide by Approved Practice Settings regulations (<5 years post graduation and not yet undergone revalidation at 5 years) from the GMC, do you have the permission of your educational supervisor (For events in the UK)?
  • What medical kit is provided? Are you happy with it?!
  • Do you feel you have the necessary skills to deal with potential casualties from an event? Depending of the nature/location of the event, this can range from a field next to an A road with easy access for an ambulance to remote Scottish Wilderness, the skills required will vary massively and therefore it might be appropriate to consider a skills course pre event. E.g PHTLS/BASICS PHEC etc.
  • What are the payment/expenses/admin fee arrangements? This varies greatly between events.

3. Provide an additional skill

This could very from being a dab hand at putting up tents and being a skilled baker to having professional outdoor qualifications and therefore a skill set that can be utilised by the event director in other ways. Personally, I have found having my Mountain Leader (Summer) qualification a useful addition and has often led t me being placed at remote checkpoints as my outdoor qualification provided useful evidence of my personal skillset and some reassurance (Hopefully!) that I won’t be a liability to the event.

4. Muck in whilst on events

Having a can-do attitude on an event and showing willingness to get involved in other non medical tasks will go down well with the rest of you event team and you will be welcomed back gladly on future events.

5. Have fun!

I have learnt huge amounts and made many firm friends through volunteering at such events and I hope this is a useful start to your own involvement. 

Nearly all the 2018 medical team + some first response team at the Cape Wrath Ultra 2018! ©Credit: Jimmy Hyland/

Have something to say? Comment on this post