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Hill Runners and Safety
Scottish Hill Runners take the issue of safety very seriously and in 2014 concluded a review of its safety code. A major development for 2015 is that the same safety code will apply to all hill races run in Scotland whether insured through SHR or Scottish Athletics. This should avoid any confusion amongst competitors and race organisers as to which safety requirements apply. The new safety code (last revision made 16 10 14) consists of generic safety rules and safety guidelines for race organisers and competitors and can be found in full at the following links:

SHR generic safety rules

SHR safety guidelines

Mandatory safety rules for competitors
Individual runners (as well as race organisers) have responsibilities with regard to safety. Under the mandatory safety rules for competitors, the competitor shall:

1.  comply with these safety rules and any additional event specific safety rule imposed by the Race Organiser (RO).

2.  follow the procedures described by the RO if they fail to start or abandon the race.

3.  obey all instructions from race officials.

4.  be aware of the serious disabling consequences of hypothermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion and act appropriately during the race.

5.  carry sufficient safety equipment (including food and drink) throughout the race to be able to navigate and provide protection from hypothermia, or dehydration and heat in the worst foreseeable weather conditions during the race, noting that rescue could take a long time.

6.  take note of the local weather forecast for the day and judge their capabilities accordingly.

7.  consider how any health impairments may jeopardise the safety of him/ herself or of others and act accordingly.

8.  take note of RO information on the nature of the terrain on the race route, checkpoints to be visited or course to be followed and any restrictions to route choice, and ensure they have the skills and experience required to safely negotiate the course.

9.  have the skills and experience required to comply with the RO’s navigation and safety requirements, having assessed conditions on the day.

10.  take reasonable care not to create hazards that may cause harm to other people and support anyone in need of assistance, even if it means abandoning your race.

11. Additional rule which applies as from January 2020: The SHR Committee have taken the decision that use of walking poles/sticks in hill races is not compatible with the safe running of hill running events. These generic safety instructions for race organisers and competitors are thus updated to reflect this decision. Please be advised that the insurance will be invalidated if competitors use these types of equipment.

Breach of a rule by a competitor may result in disqualification from future SHR races for a period determined by the SHR Committee. A set of safety guidelines for ROs and competitors is also available to help all to comply with these rules. An appeal procedure is available for resolving disputed decisions. SHR will audit compliance with these rules.

Key points for competitors
• All hill race competitors have prime responsibility for their own safety. You must make the judgement as to whether you are able and equipped to cope with the demands of the event. This is a risk sport.

• Arrive at the venue with as much kit as the organisers are likely to require you to carry on the day. This means windproof and waterproof full body cover, hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle, food, and any other items you deem necessary for your protection.

• Be able to recognise the signs of hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and heat exhaustion in yourself and others. Hypothermia: not responding to conversation; uncoordinated movement and speech; inability to think clearly; wanting to carry on in adverse conditions; skin cold where normally warm, such as under armpit. Immediate action: wrap in warm clothing. Hypoglycaemia: confusion, ill co-ordinated movement and speech; weakness, hunger. Immediate action: drink glucose solution or suck sweets. Heat exhaustion: general fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, vomiting, fainting, cold/clammy or hot/dry skin. Immediate action: rest in a cooler place with feet elevated and drink (salty) water.

Scottish Hill Runners Committee, 2014/2015

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