I was hit by a car and couldn't walk—I ran 100k marathon (2024)

On August 31, 2020, I was hit by a car while riding my bike. I had several broken ribs, several spinal fractures, a grade 5/5 liver laceration, two collapsed lungs, and a blood clot near my heart.

During my first night in the hospital, the doctors told me I shouldn't have survived. I remember lying in bed wondering what my life would be like because of this accident.

Eventually, the trauma surgeon came into my room and told me, "Despite all of these injuries, you will be able to have a full recovery—which is truly a miracle. Most people in an accident like that would have died on impact, and those who didn't would have died on the way to the hospital. "The road to a full recovery will be long, but you are young, strong, and healthy enough to take it."

I went from being in the best shape of my life to not being able to take a single step. But I survived, and I am beyond grateful.

At first, it was a little disheartening knowing that I needed help from other people to do basic everyday things like get out of bed, stand up, brush my hair, and go to the bathroom. I was so used to being strong and independent, but there I felt so vulnerable and helpless.

Standing was painful, but each time it got a little bit easier. Some days were harder than others, and there were times when I dreaded just sitting up in bed. But on the day that I took my first few steps, I realized I was not vulnerable nor helpless. I slowly started to enjoy the challenge. How many steps could I take today? How many times can I get out of bed today?

I could actually see and feel my progress. It was something as simple as walking three steps from my bed to a chair, but I was excited. It was like learning a new skill, which I loved to do.

I was hit by a car and couldn't walk—I ran 100k marathon (1)

Over the course of the next five weeks, I would go back and forth between the intensive care unit and the general surgical unit because the doctors would find new problems with my injuries.

Throughout my time there, I had numerous surgeries, X-rays, and scans, and at one point I had three drains and a chest tube attached to me. It was a rollercoaster, but I learned to start appreciating and celebrating the little victories. What kept me moving forward was the amount of love and support I had around me, from family, to friends, to social media. Eventually, I was discharged home, where I went to stay with my parents in Tahoe.

I was a junior in college at UNR at the time, so I withdrew from the semester and spent the next few months focusing on my recovery. Like anything, my recovery wasn't linear. Some days I was able to walk slowly around the neighborhood, and other days I could barely get out of bed.

But I knew that no matter what I was feeling at any given moment, I wouldn't feel like that forever. I was determined to recover, no matter how hard it was going to be. After several months of working on myself and my strength, I was able to run again.

A few weeks later I was cleared to bike and swim, and just five months after my accident, I ended up being recruited by UNR to run cross country and track. Through this, I only got stronger. After graduating from UNR I went back to competing in triathlons. In 2022, I went on to qualify for world championships for XTERRA triathlon and earn my elite status.

I love being outside and competing in different races, whether that be a triathlon, a running race, and open water race, or a bike event. I was drawn to the Life Time Tahoe Trail 100k because it takes place in my hometown, and it covers a beautiful course where I will be able to challenge myself both physically and mentally. Even though I love competition, the main reason I still compete in races is to celebrate all my body has done and can do for me.

Currently, I'm attending graduate school at UNLV for occupational therapy, which was a career inspired by everything I went through. I just finished my first year and am back home for the summer, where I am completing my fieldwork at the Renown Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital.

Kate Rye, 24, lives in Incline Village, Nevada. She is a graduate student at UNLV studying occupational therapy. She swam her freshman year of college at UNLV, ran cross country and track at UNR my junior/senior year, and is a current elite XTERRA triathlete. She ran the Tahoe Trail 100k at Life Time Fitness.

All views expressed are the author's own.

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I was hit by a car and couldn't walk—I ran 100k marathon (2024)

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