Did you see my recent plea on Instagram for a Doctor willing to sign my Paris Marathon medical certificate?
Incase you didn’t, let me explain…
To run any race in France or Italy, you need to have a medical certificate signed by a doctor to say that you’re medically fit to take part. This includes 5Ks, 10Ks, half, full and ultra marathons.
This is a bit of a faff, and in the UK costs £££ to get it signed. How much cash you’ll need to stump up for that signature really depends on your GP’s surgery… I was quoted £200! However, most doctors I’ve heard of charging between £20-50 for the medical certificate.
Not only does it add extra cost to the whole international race trip, but getting an appointment is a bit of a nightmare, especially when you’re working full time. I literally couldn’t even get an appointment until two days before the marathon if I had been prepared to stump up £200! And what if they hadn’t signed me off…
A big problem is people forging their medical certificates. The number of instagram messages I got telling me that the officials wouldn’t actually check my certificate or to just sign it myself was crazy. I totally thought about it (especially as I am working at a hospital right now, with a stamp!)
Luckily, I was able to find a GP who didn’t charge me to sign the certificate, but I’m now getting a lot of messages from other Paris marathoners who are stressing about their medical sign off. One even said that their GP refused to sign (after making the appt and agreeing to pay) and that they had been told they would need to go private for the signature. And this isn’t a one off, apparently some practices have a policy not to sign them.
So where can you get your marathon medical certificate signed?
Luckily there are some private clinic options that seem to charge around £50-55, I’ve been recommended the London Doctors Clinic by a couple of friends.
On the flip side…
I do think that having medical certificates are important for big events, like the Marathon des Sables, or any events where you’ll be going through extreme conditions and having a medical emergency would put you and others at risk.
I even wondered whether having a medical certificate for races such as Ride 100 might be a good idea to encourage more athletes to have their health checked over more regularly? Or would there just be more irritated riders/runners and more forgeries?
If it did become more commonplace in the UK, would doctors be more open to signing them after a quick questionnaire/check up? My GP said they would have to go through my entire medical file in order to clear me for the race…is that really necessary? According to some on instagram it is but I feel like perhaps that is an exaggeration (having looked at a LOT of medical notes over the past few weeks, most of them summarise relevant past medical history, although perhaps that is only hospital notes?!)
Would love to know what you think? Ever required a medical certificate for an event?