Running in France – you have to know this

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Lynne, who follows this blog and is possibly even more excited than me about the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon, tweeted me the other day to say a couple of things had changed on the website (ie they are removed the word ‘limited’ from the January entry day). I went on there to have a pootle around and noticed something I had no idea about but is so important, I thought it deserved a blog post all to itself.

If you want to compete in a race in France – yes even one where you’re planning on pootling around taking pictures of Mickey – you HAVE to have a medical certificate signed by your doctor saying you are fit enough to take part in the run. No certificate, no bib – no bib, means you just wasted a heck of a lot of money on plane fares and race entry.

I’m sure RunDisney will flag this up heavily (it is already mentioned in passing now in lots of places on the website, but if you didn’t read everything properly you could still not realise that it’s mandatory rather than optional), but as there’s a lot of stories of people arriving at huge events like the Paris Marathon not knowing that they need this magic bit of paper I figure the more places it mentioned the better.

There isn’t an official certificate you get, instead, you print out a template which you then take to your doctor who must sign it and stamp it in the surgery. Exactly when it has to be done varies from race to race but as of today Disney are saying the certificate must have been done within a year of race day. I don’t think I’d go that early but nor would I leave it to the last minute – maybe go a few month’s before the run just in case your doc wants more proof that all is good with your health/training. A bit of googling reveals there is currently a template on the Run Disney website which you can print out and use – but, as things are changing so much on that site right now, I’d wait until entry day so that you know it’s completely accurate and confirmed as the one they will accept – but good to know they are providing one as the wording does have to be quite specific.

Normally a doctor will charge a fee for signing such certificate – yes, even here in the UK with the NHS – and it seems to cost about £15 to do it. Oh, and this isn’t clear on the Disney site right now – so hopefully they’ll clarify it – but from what I’ve read re French requirements for taking part in sport, it may not just be the half marathon you need one for –  anyone running just the 5k or kids races might also need one. BTW: some athletics association runners may not need the certificate as they are already verified as part of various affiliations – but do check.

France isn’t the only country that requires a medical certificate – Italy does, Moscow marathon does, The Bull Runner race in the Philipines does and the Marathon des Sables requires both a bit of a paper and an ECG (though that makes sense). If you know of any other events that need one pop them in the comments as you could be helping someone out.

Image: this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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