Anthony (left) with other Red Cross first aid volunteers at the Great North Run

Completing a half marathon would be a good enough excuse for most of us to put our feet up. But not for Anthony Higgins.

At the weekend he completed the 13.1 mile Great North Run – and then started a shift immediately afterwards offering first aid to other runners as a British Red Cross volunteer.

“When I got a place in the ballot for the race I thought I may as well make myself useful after the finish line,” the 28-year-old said.

Anthony completed the race in a very respectable time of two hours, 27 minutes. After being carefully checked over by a Red Cross colleague, he put on his uniform and got to work at the event’s field hospital.

“When they agreed I was fit to work, I got my Red Cross uniform on and got cracking,” he said.

In the field hospital, Anthony and other Red Cross staff and volunteers treated runners for a variety of conditions including blisters, leg wounds, sunburn and feeling generally unwell after finishing.

“I think having just run the race also meant I was able to build a rapport really quickly with other runners when I was offering first aid myself,” Anthony said.

But that’s not all. Anthony had also spent the previous day providing first aid to youngsters taking part in the Junior Great North Run.

Anthony at the start line for the Great North Run

Anthony at the start line for the Great North Run

First aid all round

The Great North Run is the biggest event in the UK for which the Red Cross provides first aid.

In total 300 Red Cross staff and volunteers attended the half marathon from around the country with people coming from as far away as Scotland and Kent.

Stationed around the course, members of the event first aid teams were able to reach runners who needed help on bicycles, golf buggies and four-by-four ambulances, as well as on foot.

One of which was Anthony himself.

“I injured myself around mile three with shin splints and sought help around miles four and ten,” he said.

“Coincidentally both times it was British Red Cross volunteers who I had trained that helped me.”

Judi Evans, Great North Run manager for the Red Cross, said: “The Great North Run is a massive team effort with everyone playing their part.

“There’s a myriad of roles that need to be executed on the day but a lot of work goes into that.

“Volunteers are prepared to come and give up their time to do that and it really contributes to the phenomenal atmosphere on the day.”


Anthony began volunteering with the Red Cross eight years ago and became an ambulance crew member in 2012.