Medium Scale Case Study – Ironman Triathlons

25 January, 2019

The growth in endurance events in the UK over the last 20 years has been immense. Every week, Triathlons, Ironman Triathlons, Half Triathlons, Half Ironman Triathlons and even children’s equivalent events are hosted all around the UK.

But the rapid growth in these types of events also comes with a growing need to ensure the safety and well-being of participants, spectators and organisers.

The Event Medicine Company has been the sole medical provider to Ironman Triathlons throughout the UK since 2011. A typical set up for facilities and capability requirements is shown below, to assist comparison with any similar events you may be organising:


This largely depends on the location for the event and the sporting disciplines involved for each competition. As a general guide The Event Medicine Company normally provides an Athlete Medical Centre consisting of 2 resuscitation bays, a 15 bedded major treatment and recovery area, and facilities for the management of minor illness and injury.

Around the course there are usually between 6 to 10 ambulances and 4 cycle response units (depending upon location). In addition, there are around 2 to 4 static First Aid posts on the cycle element of the course.

Provision of anaesthetic and resuscitation services are positioned at the swim phase of the event and the Athlete Medical Centre.

The Athlete Medical Centre takes 3 people about 4 hours to prepare, to ensure that patient flow is optimal, and the environment is as ergonomic and safe for the staff working there as possible.

All equipment required for this type of event is provided in pre-prepared modules and loaded onto 2 Luton vans at our Head Office in Aldershot, Hampshire. We have a very experienced logistics team who deal with transportation to the events we cover.


These events generally attract between 2,000 to 3,000 athletes plus their supporters. But spectator numbers can vary enormously, depending on the level of the competition (e.g. UK series or International) and its location.

As a result, capability requirements are based on discussions with each event organiser; taking into account previous competition numbers and other relevant factors. For a full distance Ironman event we would expect to provide the following:

  • Reception & Triage
  • Resuscitation teams (x 2)
  • Major treatment and recovery beds (x 15)
  • Minor casualty treatment area

The Athlete Medical Centre for an event of this size would typically have a staff of 28 with the following skill mix:

  • Doctors (x 3), including Anaesthetics, A&E and Primary Care
  • Nurses (x 5), including A&E, Intensive Care and Primary Care
  • Nurse or Paramedic Practitioner (x 1)
  • Paramedics (x 2)
  • First Aid staff (x 14)
  • Administrative staff (x 2)
  • Logistic staff (x 1)

Duration of clinical provision ranges from 10 hours for a 70.3-mile event up to 21 hours for a full 140.6-mile Triathlon.

As a guide, a full distance Ironman event requires 45 clinical and logistic personnel.


Large scale event – RNAS Yeovilton
Small scale event – Eton College Sports
Search & Rescue incident – “UKISAR”


When you first contact us, our team will discuss your event with you and provide advice on the level of medical support typically needed for it. This includes covering any legal requirements that may apply, so you are fully aware of your duties and responsibilities as an organiser.

Our experienced team apply their knowledge to help you with planning and risk assessments. They’ll also assist with any paperwork, related documents, and liaising with your local NHS hospital and ambulance services (where relevant), so preparations for your event run as smoothly as possible.

If you have any questions, our Head Office team are happy to help you.


Whether you need medical support for a small, medium or large-scale event, The Event Medicine Company team are here to provide you with confidence and the peace of mind that our medical cover is both suitable and appropriate for whatever you are organising.

You also have the reassurance that our team of qualified First Aiders, HCPC registered Paramedics, Emergency Nurses, Doctors, Ambulance Technicians, Medical Technicians, and advanced medical and critical care teams are all fully insured for Public Liability, Medical Malpractice and Professional Indemnity.

To find out more or to discuss your event, please use the two links below to contact us or place an enquiry.

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