14 JUNE 2020

90KM DOWN RUN

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MY COMRADES STORY BY GARTH DIERS, MD

“I was running peacefully on the downhill section into Kloof when it happened. I had decided to cross the road to a water point and looking backwards to not bump into any runners, I hit a cats-eye in the road and thudded to the ground. I hurt my left shoulder and skinned a knee but the main impact was taken by my hands and jaw. My chin was bleeding but my hands were ok.

 

I carried on running with spectators trying to stop me to patch my bleeding chin up as my number was now covered in blood. However, I politely said I had no time to stop as I was likely to just make the finish before the final gun. At 72 years of age you do not waste time on the road as I had found out on previous Comrades runs.

 

At the next watering point I picked up a coke and a sachet of water but soon found out I could not open the sachet with my teeth which were now not aligned. I had either dislocated or fractured my mandible. It was painful over my right tempero-mandibular joint. I could not continue the race if I could not get water to drink.

 

Being a medical doctor, I decided to reduce the TM joint on the right but was worried I would worsen the situation if I had a fracture and not a dislocation. This was a serious situation but, “Nothing ventured nothing gained.”

I reduced the joint while still running by grabbing my bottom jaw and manoeuvring it into position. Although my jaw was very tender, I could now open the sachets and carry on to Durban.

 

Unfortunately, I hit a second cats-eye at Tollgate while turning to help another runner who was having severe cramps. The injuries of the second fall were less significant and I got in before the final gun.

 

Oh Comrades, what you dish up for us on the day!”

 

The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Dr Garth Diers.


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