First Aid training for race volunteers

Runners legs

England Athletics has worked with Tess Safe and Trained to create an accredited course for sports volunteers. We spoke to Tony Gale, one of the early course attendees, to find out more about his experiences.

Tony is the Chair and Run Group Coordinator for the InStep Devon Athletics Network and this was a key reason for wanting to attend the one-day course. He explained, “I am keen to support Leaders in Running and Fitness who lead groups of runners on roads, trails etc to gain basic first aid skills.”
As a leader himself Tony was also was happy to attend a pilot of the course to find out more and be able to feed back.

Tony, pictured getting very involved in one of the demonstrations, said, “I am aware of some of the risks associated with taking responsibility for leading groups of runners several miles from known sources of help and wanted to improve my understanding and skills to deal with potential medical emergencies (for myself and other candidates).”

The course Tony attended had a range of people there with a desire to improve their first aid skills. Most of these were people who had the Leadership in Running Fitness qualification - some of whom were from clubs, others were from Run England Groups and there were also people involved in events such as parkruns and coaches.

Tony said he would recommend the course to people involved in leading groups ‘away from base’ and those with coaching responsibilities. He said that he and other attendees also felt that the course would be beneficial for people who act as volunteer First Aiders to cover small races and events such as parkruns.

He explained, “A one-day course feels about right. Anything less would miss important topics; anything more would be too much time commitment for many ‘well-intentioned but busy’ potential delegates.”

More about the course

The one-day course which England Athletics has worked with Tess Safe and Trained to create is an accredited course. It has also been endorsed by the runbritain medical group and is suitable for all race organisers running events with UKA permits. It is also suitable for clubs and their members.

This course has been specifically put together based on content for people involved in running events and lasts eight hours. The cost per person is £80 plus VAT, but if a club or event provider wants to provide a ‘closed’ course specifically for its own volunteers or staff this can also be arranged for a maximum of 12 people (flexible delivery options are potentially available for closed courses such as delivery over two or three evenings).

Tess Safe and Trained have tailored the nationally recognised Emergency First Aid at Work course for volunteers at road and park based events. This one day course will enable Race Organisers/ Marshals, Group Exercise Instructors, Coaches and Volunteers to gain the essential knowledge and skills of a first aider in a sports/ activity environment. There are no pre-requisites to attend this course so it is suitable for complete novices.

The courses are being provided by Tess Safe and Trained, who provide the traffic management courses that England Athletics also supports for event organisers. Tess Safe and Trained provide recognised training, support and qualifications for people and businesses that have compliance or safety related training needs.

The course stake volunteers involved in all aspects of running as a sport and pastime to a trained level where they can respond to medical emergencies and accidents during organised events. It is a requirement of the Health & Safety law that organisers of such events provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved.

Knowing how to confidently administer effective first aid following illness or injury could help to save a life, or help someone to prevent further damage or injury.

The course is a Level 2 Award Qualification.

Topics covered include:

  • Role of the First Aider – Communication and casualty care, your first aid kit, reporting
  • Administer First Aid to a Casualty – Primary survey, dealing with an unconscious casualty, CPR, head injury, asthma, bleeding, fractures and sprains, soft tissue injury

Participants are given comprehensive handbooks to take away.

Certification is dependent on successful assessment during the course and passing the multiple-choice question paper. Following successful completion, candidates will gain a Level 2 Award qualification (certification) valid for three years.

The content of this first aid course has been approved by the runbritain Medical Advisory Group as a suitable course for volunteer first aiders, to supplement the services of the medical provider at road races.

UKA has confirmed with their insurers that club volunteers who provide incidental first aid at running events within the limits of their first aid training and experience, in support of the engaged medical provider, will be covered by UKA's insurances.

More details and booking is available at the Tess Safe and Trained website at Or call +44 (0) 1604 210506 / email

Details are also available at the England Athletics website at