Well, this was certainly an eventful night.
It was supposed to be a quick, quiet, 8km. Easy. Now keep in mind I run on a mine site in the middle of the Australian outback. Safety is drummed into us. I wear a hi-vis reflective running vest. I wear a high intensity LED headlamp. I even often wear reflective ankle bands. I am most certainly aware of what’s around me and any nearby traffic.
About 3.5km in I had a truck coming towards me. An ANFO truck, the explosives they use to do blasting on site. I was running on the side of the road, facing traffic, as I always do. There are no sidewalks and off the road is pea gravel and rocks, so I stay on the edge of the bitumen. This driver came at me at 80kmh, not even attempting to swing out to give me any room. When they get even with me, they blast their horn. Now a warning blast would have been given well before they got to me, not as the pulled even with me, this could only have been intended to frighten me. The truck was so close to me it was scary. It blew me off the side of the road and kept heading down in its direction. I was fairly angry, but I calmed down as I got back into the run and decided I would let the whole thing pass. Until…
About 15 minutes later, the site ambulance drives down the road and stops me. The EMO (Emergency Management Officer) advises me that someone had radioed in to say there was someone running down the middle of the road and that they had had to swerve to avoid them. WHAT?!?!? I gave my side of the story, stating that I should be the one making the complaint. The EMO listened attentively, not really making any judgments, which is cool. I finally asked if, when he found me running on the road, I was running unsafely in any way and he admitted that no I wasn’t.
I tossed and turned for about two hours after I went to bed and this morning made an official complaint. Not that anything will happen, his word against mine, but the record is there should he try this stunt again. And as a desired outcome I listed I would like to see a bit of education go out to all on site regarding vehicles and pedestrians sharing the roads. I explained how I often have people who refuse to give room to runners, or who don’t dip their brights at night for oncoming pedestrians, even though they would if it was an oncoming vehicle.
But the worst part was that I felt the need to add in that I was aware the easy “knee-jerk” reaction would be to ban running on the roads around the site and had to put forward a case why I felt that would be a bad idea.
I don’t know. Maybe only a runner would understand.