Heart racing

Posted: August 19, 2012 in running
Tags: , , , ,

I had an eventful weekend…

On my jollies in beautiful Devon, I decided, perhaps stupidly, to enter a 10km trail run courtesy of Moretonhampstead carnival.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dartmoor, in the South-West of the UK, it is basically a load of hills, broken up with occasional pubs and coffee shops selling tea and scones (by the way…however you care to pronounce the word ‘scone’ the other way always sounds more posh… Unless you are posh, in which case the other way always sounds more common).

Here is the route, (like you care!)


And here is the (unofficial) profile…

I was, therefore, expecting a solid, negative split! (It didn’t happen).

I’ve not ran cross-country since I was in school, and I only have some rather worn, road shoes. And I don’t really do ‘hills’. And my thighs still rub more than a rubbing thing that has graduated from rubbing university with a honours degree in rubbing.
(I was getting all my excuses in early)

The footwear turned out to be irrelevant really. The most important factor was how tightly you could tie your laces so as not to lose your trainers in this…


The run started well, although the narrow paths meant no overtaking was possible during the early stages (cue an athletic gate vault with pike and full double twist* from yours truly to make up a few places while others patiently queued to negotiate a style)…

*some embellishment may have been used.

…and my legs were coping well with the hills after all. They have since informed me that they were not coping well at all and I was merely distracted by my painful knee (which I had clonked during the gate vault but had not wanted to acknowledge due to embarrassment).

I also made the fatal error of hanging on to my plastic cup slightly too long after the drink station (4km in) so as not to be able to leave it in the close vicinity for ready clearance by the lovely volunteer marshals, and ended up hanging on to it for the next 4km, before passing the drinks people again. Moorland littering avoided.


So it wasn’t going to be a 10k PB, and I wasn’t going to win, but it was going well…


…about 1km from the finish…

Me: “Oh hello!… Everything ok?” (daft question… Clearly it wasn’t!)

Person kneeling on floor next to man: “Well he’s got a pulse but he’s unconscious!…are you a doctor?”

… Well I’m not, but I work in a hospital and I am fairly confident with my Basic Life Support so I offered my assistance.

I was told runner in front of me had already passed by and had continued on to the finish to tell folks there to get an ambulance. Other runners had also stopped and were supporting the man in the recovery position as best as possible on the muddy, rocky path.

I carried out the basic checks – pulse and breathing were present but otherwise he was completely unresponsive. I tried to cool his head with my T-shirt soaked in water from the nearby stream before remembering I actually had a phone with me!, (because clearly I enjoy carrying extra weight around with me on a run) and so I made the necessary 999 call and was told an air-ambulance was on its way. We continued to monitor him.

When assessing responsiveness, you can refer to AVPU:


And you tend to want the person to be alert or at least responding to voice (A or V)

You don’t want them in the PU.

And this chap was deeply in the PU!

I’ll gloss over the details such as being vomitted on while awaiting assistance… and skip on to praise the speedy arrival of the Devon Air Ambulance which managed to land on a small patch of grass on the hillside and who (obviously) calmly took over the gentleman’s care and with oxygen applied, managed to get him out of the PU.

He was responding to voice when we were asked to give them space and were sent on our way to complete the last bit of the run (or walk the dog or something, as the first person on the scene to begin first aid was a walker I think. Well done that woman).

No idea of my time. Irrelevant – obviously.

I have checked the race website and local news for an update on this guy but found nothing, so I hope it is not too presumptuous to assume that that is good news.


…there you go.



I just heard that the man concerned was discharged from hospital that evening, but off work for a week and not to drive for a month.

  1. Shaz says:

    Blimey ta was an eventful run. Well done you for helping out. Glad he is ok.

  2. fortnightflo says:

    Wow – you are awesome in every way! Good on you!

  3. Wow. That was not what I was expecting when I started to read in your race report. What a hero. Great excuse for the positive split too. Seriously though, you’re amazing for being so calm and helpful. Thank goodness for him you decided to enter the race.

  4. plustenner says:

    So glad to hear the guy was ok! What an eventful day, hope you get to do another trail race soon

  5. ewoodeson says:

    Wow – not how I had even begun to imagine this story turning out! Well done you 🙂

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