The 2009 London Triathlon took place on the 1st and 2nd of August. I worked there for both days as part of a team stationed in the finish line first-aid post. As well as the London Ambulance Service there were St John’s Ambulance and also a team of doctors and Emergency Nurse Practitioners to provide care to the competitors and observers, so there was a real skill mix ready for anything and anyone injured or taken ill during the event.
Approximately 14,000 sporting folk were expected to participate. We all know that the British summer can never be predicted and during the two day event we experienced a whole range of weather conditions. In some senses we were lucky that it wasn’t too hot as hyperthermia can be a problem with intense exercise in hot weather. Last year I remember we had to treat one young man by covering him with ice because his temperature had soared dangerously high. He recovered and was discharged home from the treatment centre after only a couple of hours.
Injury and illness patterns
This year however, the first day was pretty quiet for us. We had the usual array of cuts and bruises. Interestingly quite a few people complained of eye problems after using a de-mister in their googles which caused severe eye irritation.
The competitors, having trained for months, pushed themselves to their limit. For those that continued despite feeling unwell or having sustained an injury, it is just as they finish that they decide they can’t go any further. Some of them collapse and vomit just as soon as they have crossed the line!
- I managed to get a photo with Jenson Button, who completed the Triathlon for the second time
- I was given a Triathlon medal that was left over (funny enough I was given one for the Marathon too – it’s becoming a theme!)
- The lunch packs were full to the brim of sandwiches, chocolate and cakes!
and of course…
…a great bunch of people to work with. Some of them were familiar faces but there were some new ones too. For example, there were two Swedish observers who joined us for the event because they were interested in how we planned and provided cover for large events such as these. They also took the opportunity to ask me all about Emergency Care Practitioners.
I was also there to see my brother in law, Neil, finish. He did really well and it looked like he had hardly even broken a sweat.
After two long days (one 14 hours and the following 16 hours) I was utterly exhausted! I had thoroughly enjoyed myself though and hope to be able to cover the event again next year. Some of my LAS colleagues claim that they will do next year’s Triathlon – mmmm I look forward to seeing that happen!