As you may know, I’m signed up for the Annecy Half Marathon in April and I have been training hard for it. However there was one potential stumbling block. French races require a medical certificate signed by your GP to confirm that you’re fit enough to run the race.
I mean, that’s rubbish, isn’t it. Our hard-working GPs do NOT need hobby-joggers queueing up at reception to get signed approval to run half-marathons. They are busy people. In addition, it puts them in a horrible position – if anything DID go wrong, and they’d gaily signed us off to run, they’d be horribly liable for legal action. And what’s more…we’re all grown-ups, we can make our own decisions and take our own risks.
But whatever! I printed off certificates for my husband and I. I translated the document so the poor doctor would know what he was signing and I dropped them at reception. And then I got a phone call the next day. Nope. Our medical practice has a blanket policy NOT to sign these certificates.
I was a little concerned. The flights are booked. The Airbnb is booked. My long runs are up to 15 miles. I have dreams, people!
So I did some crowd-sourcing. I spoke to people in my running club, I spoke to my coach and I put a post on a local running Facebook group I’m part of and I got some solid suggestions.
In the hope that this might be useful…this is what you can do to get those pesky certificates signed.
Try your GP first
I’d say about 50% of people I spoke to had no issues with their GP. Some doctors insisted on a basic medical test. Most of them charged for the certificate (generally about 20 quid). So start there.
Several (unnamed) people told me they’d just faked theirs. They got a stamp made up via eBay for a fake medical centre and signed and stamped it themselves. I can’t deny this was horribly tempting. But I’m trying to teach my son that the right way to handle a problem isn’t always the easy way but it’s important to be honest, so DARN IT, I HAD TO WALK THE WALK!
There was one story online of a guy who got to a French race (not Annecy) without a signed certificate and basically begged/yelled until the organizer shrugged and handed over the bib. This sounded a) obnoxious and b) horribly stressful so I was keen to avoid this route.
CycloSport Medical Certificates
This was the route I ended up going, thanks to a couple of recommendations. This company organise trip to various sporting events round the world but they have a Medical Certificate business which issues medical certificates for all events. It’s not cheap, it’s £65 per certificate, but it was otherwise painless. Here’s the link.
(Not an affiliate, I’m making no money).
I filled in a thorough online questionnaire asking about my health, medication, family history, my running history and my training. I have a heart condition and I filled it in honestly and frankly. I expected some issues as a result of the information I gave. Despite the fact that my condition is stable and well-managed, that I don’t take any medication and that I run the 13 mile distance pretty much weekly, I expected additional questions at the very least and half-expected a refusal to issue a certificate. I would have understood! However less than 24 hours after I put in my request and paid my money, the certificate arrived in my inbox.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
So there you go. If you want to run (honestly) in a French race, this is my best recommendation on how to get round the Medical Certificate problem!