Safety first: new tech keeps runners on trail

TrailRunMag 22.03.2015

Blue Mountains adventurer Lucas Trihey has developed new software that will help keep competitors safer in trail running events the likes of The North Face 100, of which he is the safety director.

TNF100 sees runners push their bodies to the limit over 100km of the Blue Mountains’ most rugged and spectacular terrain and the new electronic medical data base will enable race organisers to better monitor the health of runners as they pass each check point.

Among his many achievements, Trihey has been a pioneering rock climber in the Blue Mountains and famously became the first man to walk unassisted across the Simpson Desert in 2006. His business Event Safety Services provides the medical care on TNF100 and a host of other outdoor adventure events in remote environments.

Lucas on one of his many epic adventures.

Lucas on one of his many epic adventures.

Until now it has relied on a traditional paper-based system to record information on the health of runners and then communicate it via phone or radio when necessary.

The new system will enable first aiders at every check point to put medical information on runners they are concerned about directly into digital form and transmit it to their colleagues at other check points instantly via their phone, tablet or laptop so they know which runners to check on.

ESS hopes the new system will make its debut at this year’s TNF100 in May in tandem with the paper-based system as the electronic version is thoroughly tested.20150304_152924 small

The new system, developed with the help of Blue Mountains IT expert Lloyd Sharp, was shown off to TNF100 first aiders recently at a Blue Mountains training day held to improve their understanding of medical issues that arise at endurance events, learn new skills to cope with these issues, practice their existing skills and learn to work better as a team.


They practiced basic skills such as taking blood pressure and resuscitating a runner whose heart and breathing have stopped using CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) plus defibrillators and oxygen.

The first aiders also heard about identifying and treating lesser known conditions such as hyponatraemia – illness caused by drinking too much water.

“People die from drinking too much water at endurance events,” Trihey warned the first aiders.

When runners drink too much water they flush from their bodies too much of “the good stuff” that their bodies also need, particularly sodium.

Dehydration caused by insufficient water has traditionally been a major concern for endurance event first aiders but at TNF100, Trihey said, eight times as many runners became sick from over hydration.

“When runners came into the first aid tent we used to automatically offer them a drink but that doesn’t happen anymore. Now we only give people a drink if they feel thirsty.”

In the week leading up to TNF100, Trihey is also hosting the Australian National Trail Running Conference in the Blue Mountains.

It will be the first major gathering for runners and race directors to discuss their shared passion, with guest speakers including race directors Tom Landon-Smith, Andy Hewat and Sean Greenhill, runners Brendan Davies and Hanny Alston and international authority on endurance event medicine Dr Marty Hoffman from the USA.

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The event will feature lectures, forums and workshops on trail and ultra topics, and will be held in the Blue Mountains, NSW, from 12-13 May 2015, in the lead-up to The North Face 100

Send an email to to take part.


Trail Run Mag is proud to be a media partner of the Australian National Trail Running Conference. 



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