First aid tips for marathon runners
If you’re running in the Virgin Money London
Marathon this weekend, here’s some first aid advice to help get you
over the finish line.
Don’t forget – we’ll have over 1000 first aiders lining the
route, so whether you’re feeling faint or just need a blister
plaster, look for the green uniform and first aid signs.
Isobel Kearl, our National Training Officer, explained some
common marathon injuries:
‘Cramp is common but can be easily avoided by ensuring you have
appropriate levels of salts and fluids. We recommend runners to
stay well hydrated and drink when you feel the need but without
gulping excessive amounts in one go.
‘We also see a lot of people whose clothing is rubbing and
causing irritation, particularly in the groin area, as that’s
obviously where there is a lot of friction as people run longer
than they’ve generally run before. The best thing here is
prevention – ensure you have seamless clothing or put some
petroleum jelly on the area to ease friction.’
If you get a blister:
- • leave it alone if it’s unbroken.
- • If it’s broken or likely to be damaged, cover it with a
special blister plaster, which has a cushioned pad that gives extra
- • Do not break a blister or cover with any creams or
- • To avoid blisters, make sure your running shoes are a good
fit and don’t use the Marathon as an opportunity to break-in new
more about blisters
If you get a cut or a graze:
- • Wash your hands.
- • Clean the wound with water, removing as much grit as
- • Apply a sterile dressing.
- • Ensure you are up to date with tetanus jabs.
Read more about cuts and grazes
- • If your knee is hurting from repetitive running, stop and
- • If you fall and injure your knee, lie down and support your
knee in a raised position.
- • Put an ice pack or a cold compress on it.
- • Put soft padding around it and bandage it in place - these
actions will minimise swelling.
- • Seek first aid help.
- • Don’t try to walk on the leg or straighten the knee.
- • If you start getting a headache, feel nauseous, have pale
clammy skin, cramps or a rapid, weakening pulse – you may be
suffering from heat exhaustion.
- • This is a serious condition, so seek help straight away.
- • Try to cool down, replace your body fluids and
- • Even if you recover quickly, see a doctor as soon as you
Read more about heat exhaustion
- • This is caused by friction damaging the skin.
- • You can prevent this by covering nipples with plasters or
- • If they bleed, wash and dry carefully and cover with a
plaster, but do not use waterproof plasters.
- • Drink sensible amounts of fluid to keep hydrated, but avoid
drinking too much too quickly, or in short amounts of time.
Read more about dehydration
We’re already looking for next year’s intrepid marathon runners.
Run for the charity that picks you up, dusts you down and gets you
over the finish line, while raising vital life saving funds.
Donors, sponsors, pavement pounders – every pound you give us
helps save lives.
Register for the 2017 Virgin Money London