The Coastguard helicopter with one of the rescue team's vehicles. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

The Coastguard helicopter with one of the rescue team's vehicles. Photo: Northumberland National Park MRT

A runner was airlifted from a Northumberland hillside after becoming unwell during a race.

The 71-year-old was one of four casualties who were taking part in the annual Chevy Chase event, and who were dealt with by the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team.

The team provided rescue cover for the race, which is organised by Wooler Running Club and has been staged for 63 years.

Throughout the day, the rescue team dealt with three runners who suffered injuries to their arm and lower legs.

A spokesperson said: “The final callout 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 in fact need to be evacuated from near Hedgehope Hill. 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 casualty 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 in Scotland.

“By now, more team members had arrived at the scene along with a community paramedic from Wooler and it was agreed that the casualty would be moved to a location lower down the hill, where an evacuation by helicopter would be more straightforward. Team members carried the casualty just over 1.25km on a team stretcher to a location just below Housey Crags, where they transferred him to the rescue helicopter.”

The runner was flown to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington where, after a series of tests, he was discharged later that evening. The team said he is firmly on the road to recovery.

The incident involved 29 team members for six hours.

The spokesperson said: “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.”

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