A Wonderful Community

A Wonderful Community

The Chuckanut 50km this past March was my 6th running of the race. I am very familiar with the course and was expecting a straightforward run. Granted, my legs were tired from the previous week’s foray into the Grand Canyon, but I’d done “back-to-back” weeks before and despite some fatigue decided to run the race.

By the ridge section, about halfway in, I was feeling tired. The incessant rain had made sections of the course very muddy and slippery and I had to step gingerly down some slick exposed rock faces. At around the 25km mark, I screamed and was suddenly on my butt facing up the hill I’d just run down. It happened so quickly that I really don’t remember what I stepped on or how I stepped down, but I severely injured my ankle. I had heard a snap and was convinced I’d broken it. Through tears, I said as much to Ryne, who was running with me.

Break or no break, I had a long hike down the ridge to reach any sort of help. What amazed me was that immediately after I screamed, I saw a guy running back uphill to us. He had backtracked, forgoing his race, to help. When I pointed out as much he simply said that getting me down was more important.

This would prove a theme as I hobbled down with Joey, our new friend, and Ryne on either side of me. Every single person who passed us from behind stopped to offer help and words of encouragement. I had some ladies give me Tylenol. An older male runner randomly had an ankle wrap tucked into his waist-pack ‘just in case’. He gave it to me and carried on his way. I had groups of guys offer to carry me down. I had people hike up to me to give me space blankets and mittens as I cautiously navigated the muddy slopes down.

Finally, a gruelling kilometre later, I was huddled into a chair, wrapped in space blankets and drinking lukewarm coffee while waiting for a jeep 4×4 to get me down. It would take 45 minutes, but again, every person who ran through this little station stopped to wish me luck or express condolences on my last race.

It blew me away. I have never had a running injury before, let alone one during a race. I couldn’t believe the goodwill and caring nature of my fellow runners. It proved to me, as a cherry on top of an already yummy cake, that the running community is a pretty darn fabulous one. A community that includes all people, regardless of talent or ability.

A community that is welcoming to all and simply enjoys sharing experiences together. It’s a community I am proud to be a part of.

Kristin Ohm-Pedersen
Kintec Race Team

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