Hillary Allen, the runner who 'died' in a race and came back to finish it



In 2017 Allen took off 60 meters in a race, the Tromso Skyrace of Norway, and almost died. Two years later I returned to the same test and completed it. Now publish a book.

HIllary Allen, training in her country, United States.

By a bad step I flew through the air and began to spin. See the sky at my feet, it was revs. I hit the stones once, and again, and again, and again. I felt that all my bones were broken, that all my skin was torn. I focused on breathing and calming myself down; I accepted that everything was over.

On August 4, 2017, Hillary Allen, one of the best mountain runners in the world, a specialist in complicated terrain -Hillarygoat (Hillarycabra), they call her-, pee a loose stone on top of the Hamperroken, in Norway, during the Tromso Skyrace race, fell to the void 20 meters and bounced down the slope another 40 meters more. I lost consciousness. It fractured bones of the pelvis, ribs, the two cysts, the two rays, a grimace and an ankle. I thought he was dwelling; as the first athlete who helped her thought, Manu Pair; as I thought the organizer of the test, Kilian Jornet; as the doctors who attended him thought. But in the medicalized helicopter wake up.

And two years later, last summer, he returned to the same race, to the same peak, only to prove to himself that he could do it. Between the two episodes, I experienced a very difficult process of physical rehabilitation and, above all, psychological, of which it still has sequels and that it now recounts, in a Catholic exercise, in the book Out and Back (Blue Star Press), which will be published this summer and will have version in Spanish.

Writing helped me a lot, he would say he saved me. During my recovery I thought I would never run again, I lost my identity, I fell into depression … But when I wrote nobody judged me, I could expose my feelings no matter how unpleasant they were. It somehow healed me. So I wrote a lot and there began the project of opening a blog and then the book, Allen says, which became an example.

Before the accident I was a teacher in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado who played tennis as a child, started running after finishing high school – completed a marathon in 2: 51 -, discovered the mountain, won the United States Skyrunning championship in 2014 and, from there, accumulate victories and podiums in very long tests around the world such as the Transvulcania canaria.

After the accident is an example of how to overcome a stumbling block, whether this is a real stumbling block, that is, the metaphor of a dismissal, a divorce, in short, of a disappointment. It was confirmed last fall when its brand, The North Face, made it the protagonist of an advertisement and invited it to a TED talk before hundreds of listeners. She learned last summer on top of Hamperroken, in Norway, accompanied by the same Manu Par who helped her at her worst day.

I wanted to run the Tromso Skyrace again and a few days before, when I arrived in Norway, I asked Manu to accompany me to the exact place of my accident. I needed to know all the details of what happened, to understand it. But when I arrived I felt something strange: my body wanted to leave there. My stomach stirred, I went into a panic, I was only thinking of returning to town. I was just a click away from buying the plane tickets and going back home that same day, but I stayed, ran the race with some friends and enjoyed it. They made me laugh a lot, I also cry … always remember.

Allen admits that there are days when he is placed in front of the mirror, he reviews all the scars and wonders if that was real or not. Allen admits that sometimes everything still hurts and he can barely get out of bed. Allen admits that during some workouts in the mountain he enters the panic, stops and surrenders simply to return home safe and sound. Allen admits that he wakes up many days with the sensation of falling down the mountain. Allen admits that he now doubts more about his career options such as the TDS of the Mont-Blanc Ultra Trail, a 145-kilometer test in which he finished second last year. But, at the same time, Allen admits that perhaps the accident made him a little freer and even a little happier.

I know myself much, much more than before. Of course, each one brought me negative, very negative consequences, but in the end the whole process has brought me even more positive things. Now I feel a different person, now I am prepared to deal with any problem, now I know what all those phrases that I used to say. Fight for what you love, never give up … Now I say them with my mouth full, I've lived them to the bone, Allen ends.

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