Bloemfontein runner vows to return, despite bad fall at start

2010-06-01 00:00

JO-ANNI Opperman is recovering from ankle surgery after she fell at the start of the Comrades Marathon and broke her ankle in three places.

The Bloemfontein native said she “got tangled up” in a black bag just as she crossed the start line on Sunday morning.

“I went down not 10 metres from the line; I just became entangled in the bag,” she said.

Opperman said that although she ran only 10 metres of the 89 km race, she felt the Comrades spirit.

“Another kind runner, I don’t even know his name, stood in front of me and told the other runners to be careful. He really shielded me,” she said.

She was taken straight to St Anne’s and underwent surgery late on Sunday afternoon.

“I didn’t even know you could break your ankle in three places,” she said.

Although disappointed she could not complete the race, Opperman said she was calm about her misfortune.

“These things happen,” she said with a smile. “It’s alright, I’ll be running again soon.”

While she has been ordered by her doctors to stay off her foot for six weeks, Opperman said she intends to be running again soon.

“But first I need to have more surgery to remove plates and screws from my foot.”

She said she was taken aback by the kind and efficient treatment she received from paramedics at the scene. “They were so well organised, and they got me here chop-chop,” she said from her hospital bed.

The staff at St Annes were equally supportive and helpful. “They have really made me feel better.”

The broken ankle is the biggest injury Opperman has suffered in her life. “I have never even sprained my ankle or had a nose bleed before this!” she laughed. She said she is feeling good and in little pain, and is looking forward to returning to Bloemfontein. She will be discharged today.

Opperman is adamant that this will not spell the end of her running career.

“I’ll be back next year!” she promised.

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