Marathon runner shares story of helplessness and inspiration to run again

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Phillip Amburgey was running in Franke Park last April.  It was a cold and rainy morning, so he was the only one around.  He had already run for about an hour when he came to the bridge.  As he stepped down the back side, his leg slipped out from under him.  That put too much stress on the opposite leg, which buckled.  He broke the larger bone in his lower leg and his ankle in the fall.  He lay where he fell fading in and out of consciousness, worrying about internal bleeding and hypothermia.  He says he laid there for about 45 minutes yelling for help, but he knew there was no one around.

He tried repeatedly to get back to his car where his phone was so he could call for help.  He tried to hop on one leg, crawl, and even make a crutch out of a tree branch, but the pain was too bad.  He couldn’t make it the half mile to where his vehicle was parked.  He did, however, get himself into a field where he could see the road, and he kept yelling for help.

A young man heard him yelling, and ran with his father to where Phillip lay.  It was Phillip’s nephew and brother, who don’t live here any more.  They were in town for a baseball tournament, but his nephew’s game that morning had been cancelled because of the rain.  The father and son decided to go for a walk in the park, a park they had not been to for nearly 7 years.  They found Phillip and called an ambulance.  He had screws, pins, and plates put in his leg.  After he was cleared to run again, he broke some of those screws in another injury prompting a second surgery.

Phillip has been running for nearly a decade, so he figured he would keep doing it to stay in shape, but not to push for longer distances.  Then Fort4Fitness announced they would host a full marathon at this year’s Fall Festival.  That is what inspired Phillip to keep training for distance running.  He thinks it is an important and exciting opportunity to have a full marathon in the city after so many years without one.  Phillip now advises all runners to either run with a group or partner or take your phone with you, so you are never in a situation where you are unable to get help.

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