On Sunday morning while thousands of runners should have been doing the 40th London Marathon, coronavirus had other ideas and as a result, people across the country were being encouraged to do the 2.6 challenge instead. Since all my scheduled races (Keswick Half Marathon, Pier to Pier, Bridges of Tyne) as well as my beloved parkrun had been cancelled, I have eased off on my running. My daughters wanted to do the NHS C25K so we have been doing that for the past 4 weeks – it is the only time they have left our home. In addition my friend Jill nominated me for the 5k Run for Heroes, which I completed and I am part of Louise Collins’ whatsapp ‘Louise’s Lace-up Lassies’ group and I’ve been doing the weekly challenges which each have taken up to about a half hour. In line with current government guidance, I consider all of this as being part of my daily exercise allowance.
For Sunday’s challenge I thought I would run 2.6 miles from my home on a road route I hadn’t completed before. If I was feeling ok and enjoying it, I thought I might extend it to a 9/10k circular route. I informed my husband of my plan and explained that I would be back home within the hour.
Within 200m of my home I waved to two runners from Crook and Evenwood Road Runners and later passed two runners with Shildon and Aycliffe vests. I wondered if they were doing the same challenge?
It was a very pleasant April morning and with the 2.6 miles completed I was feeling ok and decided to continue. Once the steep hills were completed it was either downhill or flat for the last 4k. I might have even been on for a negative splits run! However this is when things went badly wrong. At a roundabout, I ran over one carriageway and on the traffic island managed to get my feet tangled on a wire ring and landed head first into the other carriageway. As I was running downhill at speed, my face and head took the full impact of the fall. It all happened so quickly, the next thing I knew was that a lady was helping me off the road and a car was inches away from me. Three motorists had stopped and the lady also provided me with a packet of wipes for the blood. Other motorists also stopped and expressed concern. I think people thought I had been knocked down. A cyclist stopped and offered me her water. People were incredibly kind, particularly given the issues with Covid 19 and social distancing. One man rang my husband and then waited with me until he arrived to take me to hospital. After a thorough examination by a wonderful member of the NHS, I was sent home with painkillers, etc. and a list of the signs of concussion to watch out for.
What this whole episode has made me realise is that the outcome of my Sunday morning run could have been very different for me and my family. As stated earlier, my husband roughly knows where I am going when I go for a run but I only ever have a basic garmin watch with me, I don’t run with a phone. I had no identification on my person. When I do parkrun I have my barcode and I have the necessary information on the underside of my race number at races but I carry no identification when I do a solo run. In reality, carrying identification or an emergency phone number when solo running is probably more important than at organised events. If I’d been unconscious and hospitalised, no-one would have known who I was.
During this Covid episode, unless with the people we live with, we are all having to run on our own. Therefore, when I recover and am able to run again, I will be carrying my I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) with me, either in a pocket or pinned to my shirt. I would strongly recommend that you do the same.