I had been participating in the 21km category for the past editions. Discussed with coach, and we decided to go for the 10km category this year. After a marathon in Feb, it is an off season for me and we are back to focusing on speed. The idea was just to go for short races to build up my speed.
I had a good training leading up to this event. I was eating and resting well. I even incorporated some body balance classes into my routine to relieve my tight hips and hamstrings that has been bothering me for the past months. I was so looking forward to Income Eco 10 km race. After a 4th place at the recent Sundown Marathon 10km Challenge, I was hoping I could earn a podium position this time.
Never in life I would imagine myself DNF a 10km race.
The morning seemed to be starting right. Jackie and I woke up on time, had our usual breakfast and grab down to F1 Pit Building. Other than enduring a stinky cigarette smell inside the car, the ride was uneventful. We arrived at the race site at 5.30 am, which is exactly 1 hour before the flag off. Unlike the rush during Sundown 10km Challenge, we had ample time to deposit our bags, visit the loo and I even managed a 10 mins warm-up jog. Spotted fellow ASICS and ActiveSg team mate, Banjamin and we made our way to the pen together just slightly after 6 am.
The pen was filling up quickly but Jackie, Banja and I managed to squeeze our way to the front where we met and greeted several familiar faces, Adriel, Joshua, Yvonne, Jenny, Desmond, all of them participating in the team category. Ghim joined us a short while later.
We chit-chatted and waited patiently for the flag-off. Few minutes before the flag off, the organisers released the chain and runners started moving forward and finding space. I counted and realised I am now in the 9th row from the front, which wasn’t ideal but something I could live with. There was a slight delay and all runners were beginning to feel restless and raring to go. Finally at 6.38 am, the horn sounded and off we go.
I started my garmin and crossed the starting line. The start was slower than usual partly because I was in the 9th row (unlike the 2nd or 3rd row I was usually at). There was probably some pushing and jostling as runners from behind dashed forward. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one participant ahead fell. The next moment, to my horror, I fell, my knees scrapping the hard tarmac road. I tried to get up. Then someone fell over me (or did some one step on me? I’m not sure) My face slammed against the road hard. For that split second, I was so afraid that I couldn’t get up and I could be trampled by the rest of the runners.
Shortly later, I got up. Something fell out of my mouth. I would learn later that those are the chips from my teeth when I was in the ambulance. My legs were wobbly. A glance at the surroundings and realised that all the runners had ran off. It was almost a minute after flag off. Can I still continue to run? I wanted to but somehow I knew I was not in a good condition to race anymore. I touched my face, and saw blood on my hands.
I was unsure of where to go. I spotted Jackie at the side. Thank god he’s still around. He came towards me, looking concerned. I told him I think I’m ok, and he should probably continue his race. He took one look at me and said, “It’s bad, I better go with you”. Edwin, who is one of the escort cyclists, fellow Jurong Safra member, came forward asked what had happened. I can’t see how I look but I must be quite a sight and was starting to draw some attention. I could feel the blood oozing from my face. Someone came forward and led us to the medic. It was then I noticed that there was a 2nd wave waiting for flag off.
The medic took one look at me and decided to send me to hospital immediately. They dressed the wounds on my two kneecaps, passed me a packet of ice and asked me to press onto a cut on my nose bridge. After Jackie picked up our bags from the baggage deposit, we were whisked into the ambulance. On the way to SGH, it was then I felt the pain on my face and realised that I had two chipped teeth. The accident started to sink in and I couldn’t help but cry, in pain and in disappointment. Why did such thing happen to me?
Shortly later, we arrived at SGH A&E department. A doctor on duty examined me and asked me some questions pertaining to the accident. I was arranged to see a dentist and plastic surgeon. There was some waiting before I see a doctor again where I received an injection. Then I went for a X-ray for the face to make sure nothing is broken. Some more waiting and I get to see the dentist next. As they do not have proper equipment to fix the teeth on the spot, the dentist fixed a metal wire to stabilize my three shaky teeth so I can consume food easily. He also mend one of my chipped teeth. I was given an appointment to see the dentist on Tuesday.
After that, I did another X-ray, this time for my right knee which is swollen. Then, we waited again to see the plastic surgeon. He cleaned the wounds on my face with some soap water and alcohol. As there is loss of skin surrounding the cut on the nose bridge, he could not stitch it for me. The cut was deep so can only let it heal on its own. He mentioned that this cut may leave a scar in future. =( Another cut was stitched up within minutes. The injection prior to the stitching is more painful than the stitching itself. Thankfully, the abrasion on the upper lips are minor and will heal without leaving a scar. I was scheduled to return for review on Tuesday.
And finally after close to 5 hours in the hospital, I was discharged. Thankful to have the hubby to be with me throughout the ordeal.
Run safe never ring so true before. To all runners out there, please be careful especially at the race start where it can get chaotic and messy when runners dashed forward. Some are just too excited. Some are simply too competitive or aggressive. Most of the time it’s not intentional but it still pose the same danger. I heard about it, seen it, but just didn’t expect it to happen to me. It could happen to anyone. Do keep a lookout for fellow runners and make running safe for all!