St John volunteers gear up for adidas Auckland Marathon

Nicki Russell |

Around 40 medically trained volunteers will be on hand during this year’s adidas Auckland Marathon to provide assistance to competitors.

Skin chafing and muscle cramps are some of the most common challenges that St John people expect to deal with during the event on Sunday.

St John Events Coordinator Georgette Betham says last year St John treated nearly 150 people and transported three people to hospital – one for a cardiac complaint, one for an ankle injury and another for serious heat exhaustion.

“The majority of issues we deal with are minor including treating blisters, nose bleeds, headaches, cramp, rashes and stings. However, heat exhaustion is also a concern.  We have to expect the entire range of medical problems for an event such as this, which is why we ensure we have a large team of volunteers and resources on hand.”

The team of medically qualified volunteers range in qualifications from basic first aid, through to off-duty ambulance officers, a doctor (coming from Hamilton) and four nurses.

“It’s a big logistical effort ensuring we have the right resources and people across the course.  But our volunteers really enjoy being part of this awesome event,” Ms Betham says.

Among the volunteers will be four ‘pedalmedics’ who patrol the course using pedal power on medically equipped bicycles.

Meanwhile, two motorbike medics will look after runners throughout the entire course – including the steep Harbour Bridge section of the marathon.

Revenue generated from providing medical events cover supports the work of St John.

St John is a charity which provides a wide range of services to New Zealand communities. Fundraising, donations and grants help it to buy equipment and vehicles such as the medically equipped motorbikes.

In the last year more than 1700 St John people assisted some 31,000 patients at around 9,000 events.

St John is known globally for first aid care at events. In New Zealand, St John has been seen on the sideline at sports events every week for over 100 years.

First aid training and delivery at sporting events were foundation activities of St John in New Zealand. St John members are still seen on the sidelines each and every week throughout New Zealand.

In recent times there has been stronger public demand for St John services to be developed and provided for public gatherings as well as the traditional sports events. St John members assist where crowds gather – including sports games, concerts, public displays and exhibitions.

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