Comrades Winner Camille Herron Survives Major Car Crash
For a few long minutes, Camille Herron thought her life could end at any moment.
Crumpled into a ball while hanging helplessly upside down, Herron was trapped inside of her car, which had flipped over after a rogue driver crashed into her. The driver was later charged.
“I thought I was going to die from suffocation. I couldn’t breathe, and I was worried about the car setting on fire because I could smell oil and smoke,” Herron told Runner’s World. “It just smelled like something burning.”
The ultra runner, who recently set the 100-mile world record, was on her way to work at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City on Monday morning when the accident took place. After impact, her vehicle flipped, and landed upside down, in between a concrete pillar and an oil pump.
Luckily, she didn’t have to wait long to be rescued. Her Subaru had a safety and security system, which alerted first responders immediately. Within a few minutes, a rescue team opened her passenger door and lifted her out of the vehicle.
Aside from soreness in her neck, back and ribs, Herron was able to walk away from the crash without any major injuries.
“So many things could go wrong or right and impact if you live or not, and so I feel very fortunate for the way my car moved, the way my body contorted, everything,” she said. “It just seems like a small miracle.”
On Tuesday morning, she visited her doctor and underwent several imaging tests to see if she had any internal injuries.
Before the crash, Herron intended to compete at the Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand starting on 6 February. As of Friday, she is healthy, but is still dealing with bruising and soreness from the accident. She is approaching each day with caution, and is waiting to make a decision on the race depending on how her body feels.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” she said.
Herron is one of the most accomplished ultra runners in history, with world records in the 100-mile distance and 24-hour runs on the track. She broke the previous record at the Desert Solstice Invitational on December 8, when she ran 262 kilometres in 24 hours. She passed through the 160-kilometre mark in a world record of 13:25 – and ate a double-decker taco from Taco Bell and a beer from Rogue Ales while setting her record.
Prior to Desert Solstice, Herron won the 2017 Comrades Marathon title and both the 50K and 100K crowns at the 2015 International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) World Championships.
After surviving the accident, Herron feels even more appreciative for her health and her “million dollar legs.”
“I feel like I dodged a bullet. I’ve had accidents on trail races, but to have a non-running type of accident, I feel very blessed with the way things went and the way that I’m able to come away with it with two legs, my million dollar legs are still intact,” Herron said with a laugh. “Maybe I should go to Taco Bell for lunch.”