During the relay my teammates got into some trouble on the run; from rolled ankles to a mugging. If you think about it, these things can happen to any of us. When I hear these stories I wonder what I would do if I had been running in their shoes. How would I respond? What decision would I make? This is just my curiosity, not a what-is-right-or-wrong thing.
Here is a basic list of scenarios, true stories, with links to the original when available.
- Injured. A runner wasn’t fully recovered from an injury. She started her first leg and felt great for some miles and then, WHAM, the injury makes its presence felt and she slows and finishes in pain. This is probably more common than it should be (showing up for a race when not fully recovered). It is triply troublesome for a long distance relay. But when you know your team is there to have fun, and not trying to win, perhaps you take a risk and run to simply be able to participate. I probably would, but would take it super easy.
- Injury. Runner with no previous injury gets hurt on the course – rolled ankle after jumping for a sweet photo op. If this were a half marathon, I’d probably just DNF. But in a team relay, you kind of don’t want to leave your team hanging. You also have to at least get to the next exchange before you can really stop. So, you probably WANT to keep pushing on until someone makes you to stop, right? Aside from being super mad at myself, I would want to stay in the game as long as I could. Fortunately for Elizabeth, this was during her last leg.
- Extra miles. Getting lost is common. At least two runners and one van got a little lost at one point during the relay. It sucks. You run extra miles. You’re late for the exchange. It’s not fun trying to figure out how to get BACK on track as you run. BUT, what if you found out just before your run that you had to run 9 miles instead of 7 because a building was burning down? Bummer.
- Wildlife. It’s dark. Something furry jumps out and scares the runner and she falls. Now you’re in scenario #2: Injury. OR you’re like my friend Melissa who gets stalked by a large cat while on a 16 miler training run (not HTC related). Regardless, what do you do about wildlife? Even Meb Keflezighi gets attacked by animals and he’s freakin fast! I would be freaked out. I’d probably jump or yell at minimum.
- Wild men. Runner is happily running along in her sparkle skirt (while it’s still light out) and all of a sudden, a hand is smacking her ass. Then, the sound of squealing tires/guys fills her ears as she connects the dots between her tingling tushy and the arm hanging out the open window of a car that is speeding away. WTF, right? For a second, I would imagine turning on Superwoman speed, catching up with their car and heaving into the next galaxy. But no, there is still 3 more miles to go and a lot of anger to burn. Ugh.
- Wilder men. Sometime around midnight, in a seedy part of town, two men are blocking the runners path. As she gets closer they don’t budge. Crap. They are drunk and high. They aren’t coming at you but they’re not letting you pass either. Uhm. I would have rapidly mixed visions of CSI episodes better forgotten and more unlikely Superwoman powers. But seriously. What do you do?
Of all the scenarios, 6 scares me the most. You can read the whole story from Caroline here. She is safe. Thank the good Lord in heaven!
I share all this with a pretty light tone because, in the end, we were all safe and will recover from any injuries sustained. However, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open and perhaps consider in advance what you would do in case you ran into trouble or got injured mid-run on a trail where you had no cell service. Most of us have heard of Sherry Arnold and Sarah Hart. Or what about what happened to Dorothy at Mile Posts?
On that note, here are 5 Safety Tips for Runners.
Have you encountered situations like this before? Do you prep for trouble on the run?