Runner airlifted to hospital after falling ill during Cheviots hill race

A competitor in a gruelling endurance race had to be airlifted to hospital after becoming seriously ill in the Cheviot Hills.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 1:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 4:16 pm
Northumberland National Park and HM Coastguard were called to help the casualty at the Chevy Chase hill race, near Wooler.

The 63rd Chevy Chase, which took place on Saturday, is a 20-mile challenge taking competitors to the summit of both the 815m Cheviot and 714m Hedgehope.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue team, providing medical cover, helped three runners who suffered a range of injuries, from a lower arm injury to lower leg injuries.

The final call out came as the race was drawing to a close when a 71-year-old competitor became very unwell on the final leg. He was initially treated by a team medic but it became apparent that he would not be able to continue and would need to be evacuated from near Hedghope, the second-highest peak in The Cheviots.

At this stage, the casualty was 2km from the team control vehicle and a group of 12 rescue personnel were initially dispatched along with the team land rovers and stretcher.

Upon arrival at the scene, the man was assessed by a team doctor and given the potential seriousness of the situation it was decided to request an immediate air evacuation. An HM Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 199, was tasked from Prestwick.

By now, more team members had arrived at the scene along with a NEAS community paramedic from Wooler and it was agreed that the man would be moved to a location lower down the hill, where an evacuation by helicopter would be more straightforward.

Team members carried him just over 1.25km on a team stretcher to a location just below Housey Crags, where they transferred him to the rescue helicopter.

The man was flown to The Northumbria specialist emergency hospital at Cramlington, where after a series of tests, he was discharged later that evening. He is firmly on the road to recovery.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank their partner agencies North East Ambulance Service, Northumbria Police and HM Coastguard for their swift action and support during the incident, the local volunteer from Wooler Running Club who stayed with the casualty until mountain rescue personnel arrived and the local estates workers who arrived on their quad bikes to offer support.