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Patrick McGuire, PartnerA leading lawyer has expressed concerns over the protection afforded to competitors in an outdoor endurance event in Dumfriesshire last month.

Three people contracted a potentially deadly strain of E. coli after taking part in the Tough Mudder event at Drumlanrig Castle on 14 and 15 July.

Around 6,000 people from across the world took part in the event, in which competitors navigated their way across a 12-mile course filled with muddy trenches and icy water.

The three victims – all adults – developed symptoms shortly after the event.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said that, even more than three weeks after the event, further cases could not be ruled out, and the Scottish government have now sent alerts to health authorities throughout the UK.

Partner at Thompsons Solicitors and expert in health and safety law, Patrick McGuire said:

"Although this was an endurance event and the participants were aware of the risks typically associated with it, the organisers had a duty to take reasonable care to ensure adequate controls were put in place to guard against outbreaks of disease such as E. coli.

“Certainly there’s a question mark over whether the organisers sought to notify the local authority of the nature of the event – where there is the real risk of mud being contaminated by animal slurry.

“The waiver signed by competitors on the day does not eliminate the organisers’ duty of care to them in its entirety. If it can be established that nothing was done to identify or mitigate the risk of exposure to contaminated material, the organisers could be sued for negligence.”



•    for further comments from Patrick McGuire, contact Tim Weir on 07974 262 997 

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