An example of why Run/Walk Etiquette is Important

Let's do a Throwback Thursday post to a time back in June 2011 to one of my running events and one reason why race etiquette is so important.

On June 12, 2011, I participated in one of our local running events, The Bridge City Boogie (BCB), in the 5k. I just ran a the Saskatchewan Marathon (Half Mary) the end of May with no issues.  The BCB event was packed.  It had grown so much that it had over 6000 participants that year.  Now runner/walker etiquette was not there in the slightest.  Now given that this was such a family orientated event I can understand not everyone knowing them but some of the attitudes that went with the participants were not that friendly.  In fact knowing that there would be a good number of walkers and that I would be running the 5k, I headed towards the front of the 5k group and placed myself about 10 rows back because I could not manage to squeeze up anymore.  I had strollers and little kids in front of me and people holding hands.  I did ask politely to go ahead of them and was refused. Ok. fine.  I had noticed a few other people that I knew would be running and as one was prepping their Garmin for the race, a group of ladies were making fun of this runner with all her "running gadgets" and about how she must think she is so cool.  Nice attitude. Really.

Now I mentioned that there were a high number of people for this local race.  This was a big deal considering our city has never had this many people in a run/walk event before and I really don't think they were prepared.  They did have the 'rules of the road' made available prior to the event and they made many announcements that all walkers, strollers, and such to please line up near the back of the their distance group.  People did not budge.  Ok, fine, no problem, I would just stick to the left and hope that things aren't too bad.

Well they did not get any better.  You see since the huge number of people were squeezed in to a skinny side street with people also on the side grass areas for each distance group.  I was thankful that the race had a different start time for the 10k group, but the 5k and 2k group was release together.  Now imagine all those people squeezing in from the grass area suddenly on to the road and the first turn was right ahead and to the left... The site wasn't pretty.  I thought I had a good spot as there were a few runners ahead of me, but then I noticed some people jumping up on to the curb to the left and running up on the sidewalk and grass area.  I was trying to stay true to my distance for myself, but I guess I didn't catch on to this warning sign and the next thing I know I was being edged off the road and suddenly my left foot was up on the curb (over 1 ft up from the road) and my right foot was still on the road.  Saying ouch here would be an understatement.

I was mad and I also didn't realize what exactly I did to myself yet, but I noticed that I couldn't really run anymore the way I was.  I couldn't walk either without limping.  I came up with the alternate shuffle/walk thing and continued on and the pain got worse.  I knew I was in trouble and had in my mind I needed to find someone with a walkie talkie (of all things) and they could help me.  I went past the route marshals, the police, and other volunteers, but did not stop because they did not have this walkie talkie.  I think I was in some kind of shock with tunnel vision at this point from the pain.  When it came to entering the stadium where the race ended, I saw the finish line and just focused on that.  As soon as I crossed that line I hopped to the information tent and asked where the ambulance was because I thought something was wrong.  They just told me that I ran past it when I entered the stadium. They had me sit at that point and called the ambulance workers over to me where they checked me out and said I should go to the doctors and maybe get checked out.  So, I hung around and a very nice volunteer helped me over to an area so I could try to find my friends.  Once they found me, they grabbed their van, picked me up, and drove me to my vehicle.  Then they left.  At this point the pain was really bad and I started to laugh because it was my left ankle that was sore and I was driving my truck that was a standard. Yeah. Let's just say I rode that clutch the whole way to the minor emergency medical clinic.

So, I get in to the doctors, he thinks sprain but sends me for x-rays there just to be safe and calls me back in.

Broken L-fibula from race

The result was a broken Left Fibula just above the ankle.  Broke right across and thankfully no displacement to warrant surgery.  I said your joking right?  He just responded with "you finished the race?" I have always said I was stubborn but did not realize how stubborn I was.

So, the doctor gave me the option of a regular cast, a cast that I can shower with, or an air-cast.  I chose the air-cast so I had to go to another place to pick it up.  So off I went riding my clutch again, but I did call my husband to tell him the news and to please come to the city to exchange vehicles with me since I really can't drive mine.

Now I know that I can not put the blame on the race event, but I did send an email to them to let them know what happened and to please be aware for future races so maybe some more focus on race etiquette or what ever could happen.  I also found out that I was not the only runner with injuries from that first turn.

Now, there is a happy ending to this story.  I was originally signed up for to run the 5k at the Mogathon with my family two weeks later on June 25th.  I contacted the event and asked if they would let me complete the 5k in a wheelchair instead and they had no problem with it.  So, with two weeks in between the two events, I rented a wheelchair to use at work and home to prepare, and finished my 5k in the wheelchair with my family by my side.

Finished 5k in wheelchair

I must give a huge thanks to the Mogathon event as I was the only wheelchair participant and they had one area of the event that a wheelchair could not go through, so they made a ramp just for me.  Wow.  I was so impressed and full of gratitude.  

I also have to give a huge thanks and hug to my very supportive family and workplace.

Final times for both 5k races:
Bridge City Boogie (broken leg) - 33:19 mins
Mogathon (wheelchair) - 40 some mins (can't remember exactly right now)

So, when life gives you one huge lemon, you make the best lemonade with what you were given.

Do you have any good or bad examples of race etiquette being done?


Sasha Leigh said...

Wow. I remember when you hurt your foot, and the fact that it took forever to heal because you were so anxious to get back to running!! Jason should have mentioned 'that' when he posted about apologizing to the shoes, lol. ;)

Heidi Tania said...

lol! Yeah, I was quite upset about the whole breaking the leg thing. My running was doing so well that year for me. Oh well, life happens. ;)