Help an injured runner out

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014

Sometimes I wish people would act more like compassionate human beings.

Recently, some friends of mine came across a woman with a broken ankle near the Devil's Punchbowl in Arthur's Pass. (They could see the bone so it was pretty obvious something was wrong).

They stopped, called for help and waited with her, and her young children and husband, until paramedics arrived.

While waiting, several other people walked past them on the same track with one even commenting that they were "in the way". Not one other person stopped to help.

The woman was flown by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Christchurch Hospital.

This kind of behaviour always irks me - I think if you're passing someone who is injured then it only takes a few seconds to check on them.

They may tell you they're fine, or they may be quite thankful you stopped. Yes you may end up there for hours, but if that was one of your loved ones then surely you'd want someone to stop?

So what about when it comes to running races? What if stopping ruins your attempt at a personal best? What if it means coming third not second or first? In my mind, you always stop and ask.

When I ran the Lake Hood race in January I came across a young boy who was visibly upset and limping.

I slowed down beside him to check on him (yes I lost a few seconds but really who cares? I know my timed time doesn't actually reflect what I did). He was fine and in the distance his mum waved to say she was on her way. 

Just last weekend, my friend Fi tripped over during the Lake Hood half-marathon.

She said some people near her "picked me up and dusted me off". At the end, another runner went up to her to check on her as she'd seen it happen in the distance. 

This week, I was up Harry Ell and I saw a middle-aged woman take a tumble. Her friend helped her up as I was coming around the corner.

I slowed down a little and asked if was OK - she looked fine, but maybe she wasn't or maybe she needed to call someone to meet her near the road. She had a sore ankle, some mud covered clothes and a slightly bruised ego but she was fine.

As I continued on my way (and I really didn't even stop as I had the conversation with them as I approached), I heard another runner coming down the hill start up the exact same conversation. 

I smiled to myself. This is what it's about.

While running is a lone sport, there are people out there who have your back and will check in on you. Plus, I think this is how it should be in life. If you see someone down and out, why not check on them?

Have you ever stopped to help someone who was injured or in trouble? Would you stop or would you pass someone if it was a race? Email me on rachel.young@press.co.nz, follow me on Twitter @YoungRachelS or comment below.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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