Boilermaker Blog

A Truly Shocking Race

Over the year I gather stories that are a bit quirky that have at least a bit of involvement with running or health. We have many months where the race is just a memory for many so I need stories that are somewhat timeless- this is one of them.
As the sport of running has exploded so has the proliferation of niche events like color runs, theme runs and mud/ survival runs. I want to focus on one of these ‘boot camp’ type runs which took place in Philadelphia last June.
This race had rather unique features to its obstacle course named the Electric Eel and Electroshock Therapy. The event promised the participant the chance to “run through a field of live wires”. Add to this, you have runners who are soaked with water, sweat and mud (a wonderful electric conductor). Suddenly the local hospital was dealing with runners suffering from unusual aliments besides the more common strains, sprains and muscle pains.
The emergency room treated 16 people who had suffered various degrees of electrical injury. Victims suffered from electrical burns, lacerations, seizures and inflamed hearts.
Dr. Marna Dreenberg, director of emergency medical research at Lehigh Valley Hospital pointed out you can train for distance running; it’s not quite as easy to train for electricity. I remember as a young child plugging in the Christmas tree lights and inadvertently having my finger toughing the metal part of the plug. As I ‘became one’ with the electric current I was literally knocked backwards- decided not to do that again!
I’m not surprised (or should I saw shocked) that things like this happen; events often push the boundaries to promote participation and establishing they are different. Certainly there are responsibility issues here, both on the part of the race organizers and the participants. Be careful what you ask for!
When I was in the Army a sergeant told me “son, there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, don’t cross it!”

Leave a Reply

* Required Field