Hidden dangers of a trail run ensure safe preparation with 8 essentials for safe event
Are you prepared for that emergency which in all probability won’t happen, this is what happened to me when participating in an off road Half Iron Man.
When you go out on a trail run in remote or difficult terrain, what do you take? I have taken part in a number of trail runs over the last 30 years, with plenty of solo training in between. I always carry emergency equipment and in all that time I have never required it. No wonder then that you see many lightly equipped runners out there who believe that in their experience, they will never need it.
In those 30 years I had never needed my emergency equipment, until recently when taking part in a long endurance event, I fell, on what was the last section on an easier trail than those I had run on earlier in this race. Ruptured my Quadriceps tendon ouch! The quadriceps tendon is the attachment of the main thigh muscle to your Patella and allows you to extend your lower leg.
When I fell I felt and heard the tear of the tendon hitting the ground hard, fortunately I knew exactly what had occurred and new that I was not going to complete the run! Once I got over the shock and realised the situation, it was time to put my experience and first aid into action. Grabbing my bag and the attached whistle I need to summon assistance; it failed to whistle! Next knowing other competitors were following behind me I lay down and raised my arm as a warning. In no time two runners were there and willing to help others all joining in support. They managed to contact mountain rescue which was not easy with the limited phone reception in the area, but, with the assistance of the official photographer, it was accomplished.
As it turned out I was the only person first aid trained and so had to talk them through a sequence of events to protect me from the elements. Placing me in a position more comfortable and raised my leg supporting it on a rucksack, removing wet clothing to be replaced with warm tops with extra warm clothing and jackets. We secured my legs to ensure the injury was protected from excessive pain due to any movement, followed by getting into a bivvy bag and placing space blankets under my body to protect from the cold below.
Other runners provided chocolate and fluids; all important to protect me from allowing my body temperature to drop too low and increase the risk of hyperthermia setting in.
Wasdale mountain rescue arrived due to the accurate map coordinates provided on our position; but it took 3 ½ hours before they arrived and that’s a long time to spend on wet ground; so all the measure’s taken were very important to my survival. I was then sledged off the fell to a waiting ambulance by two teams taking around 20 rescuers. I was extremely grateful to them for being in existence, without substantial charity support they could not survive.
Next time you pass a charity collection box I urge you to support them generously.
What can you do differently next time you are out on the fells walking or running?
If you are not first aid trained, consider booking yourself onto a local emergency first aid course details
Pack the following every time you head to the hills:
- Spare warm top
- Compass and a marked up map, with attached (tested and working) whistle
- Shoes appropriate for the terrain
- Back up food to last you 4 hours
- Bivvy bag or space blanket
- Phone with emergency contact details
- Leave details of your route and estimated time of completion with a reliable person – who will check if you don’t return within a specified time.
By Norman Brown Accident photo By Mick Kenyon