Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Bad Day on the Trails

I met up with some friends this morning to run the Skyline trail in the Middlesex Fells. Much of the trail was covered in ice and the running was treacherous. Somewhere between 4 and 5 miles into the run one of the members of our group fell hard and heard a loud crack. When she got up she was in a lot of pain and couldn't put any weight on her ankle. We were a long way from our cars and there was no way she could run her way out. Thankfully there were four of us to offer assistance.

Kevin had brought a trail map along so we checked it first to see if we could locate a trail that would bring us out to a road. Luckily we were only about a quarter mile from the nearest one. Kevin and Streph had to carry out our injured friend while me and Emily ran back to our cars. It probably took about 45 minutes to get to the cars and back to where Kevin, Streph and M were waiting. M was cold and shivering when we got there so we quickly got her into the car and cranked up the heat. Winchester Hospital was nearby so we drove to the Emergency room.

Unfortunately, an X-ray showed a break in two place. The ER doc said it was a "good" break (if there is such a thing) and the ankle should heal normally. We all feel badly that M got so unlucky today but I'm sure she's feeling even worse. We're all praying she has a speedy recovery. She's young and tough so I'm sure that's exactly what will happen.

A few things I've learned from today's experience:
  • Running in a group is much safer than running in the woods alone. If misfortune strikes, there is immediate help available.
  • If you must run alone,bring your cell phone and a trail map. At least if you have a bad accident you can call for help and inform rescue workers of your approximate location.
  • No matter how careful you are, bad stuff can still happen.
Let's be careful out there people.....


  1. That sound M heard was a break?! In two places? OH, Bummer! She handled the fall, ankle twist and pain like a trooper. Sherpa Kevin I am relieved we were all there to help. I hope she's feeling better very soon. Strength in numbers, here. Be well and heal quickly, M!

  2. Yikes! Sorry to hear about M. I wish her a speedy recovery! Ana

  3. Those is some good advice. It's always risky to run on trails or anywhere else by yourself. Especially if you are far away from medical assistance. We all think we are invinsible out on the trail, being "extreme," but accidents do happen.

    I hope for a quick recovery for M so she can get back out on the trail soon! Even after a painful experience, you gotta get back on that "bike" and ride.

  4. Hey there Dan. Wow, sorry to hear about M's break. Your words and the comments above reflect the nature of the sport. With adventure comes risk, and I think we all have seen the race applications that constantly remind us that trail running can be hazardous. Streph has a good note on his blog about trail first aid, and I think just as we try to be good stewards of the environment, we need to be good stewards of each other and come equipped with the knowledge of what to do in situations just like this. Thoughts and prayers go out to Mary for a quick and proper recovery.

  5. Excellent advice Dan...I read Emily's blog M's accident and send positive thoughts out into the universe there for a speedy recovery. The advice should be be heeded as I experienced getting lost in the wilderness in Maine with no water, food or appropriate gear during what was supposed to be a short (10 mile) trail run in November...10 hours later I was discovered (and yelled at) by a group of hunters who mistook me for a deer!!!!

  6. Thanks all for your positive thoughts. They are appreciated by M and me as well.

    trailgrrl - sounds like a scary experience. You were lucky to be found by the hunters. A night alone in the wilderness would have been very dangerous. Please be careful out there and maybe wear orange next time ;-)


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