After successfully shedding over four stones last year, I have decided to carry over into 2014 in the same vein. So, Monday night I decided to try a new route.
My usual winter evening route has reached its expansion limits, at best I can make 6 miles on a night without straying too far into urbanity but to do more than 6 miles would mean looping over territory already covered and that would become a little too repetitive for me.
The new route takes me down into my local village and then the opposite way to my usual route. A good 7 miles minimum at first estimate.
My plan is a simple one, start 2014 at 5 – 7 miles of mixed walking and sprinting every other night and build up a mile a month until I can comfortably cover 12 miles without too much of a struggle.
Fitness wasn’t the only drive to change routes, I’ve recently started playing the augmented reality game Ingress and the only vulnerable enemy portals near me are on the new route.
So Monday night I started Endomondo and set out, down into Lindley, farming enemy portals in Ingress.
It was a nice start, despite having been relatively idle over the festive break, my fitness levels hadn’t dropped and I made a good pace through the village and up towards the M62.
3.5 miles in I cross the M62 and head on to my planned turning point, a church on route – co-incidentally the last of the enemy portals in Ingress.
The road up from the bridge over the M62 is poorly lit, poorly paved and poorly travelled. The occasional car speeds past on its way towards Rochdale but it’s my preferred walking environment – lonely and isolated.
I’d estimated that a turn around there would result in my returning home at the 7 mile mark – a circuit that could be expanded upon by moving the turning point forward by half a mile in future,
I hacked the Ingress portal and made the turn to start home, checking my progress in Endomondo to make sure I wasn’t short changing myself on distance.
I was suddenly struck in the face, throat and chest by what I took to be a hard snowball – an ice ball even.
Cold, hard and wet, I was knocked back by the blow.
Uttering an expletive, the realisation dawned that we have not had any snow yet this winter; I looked around to check as I wiped, what I thought was snow, away.
My hand came away with a mix of albumen, yolk, blood and shell.
I had been egged.
I think the embarrassment negated the rage and shock somewhat, although the anger seeped back in as my hand came away a second time doused in blood.
I could tell there was a wound, of sorts, bleeding profusely from my chin – and my throat and chest felt bruised.
The egg had hit at a fair speed. My memory, catching up with me, associated the impact with the passing by of a speeding car.
I had been egged from a passing car.
A third wipe and I determined that I was still bleeding.
One hand pressed against my chin and throat to stop the bleeding, whilst the other struggled with my, now egg-bound, phone.
The camera wouldn’t activate and so I decided to make my way back towards home (2 miles away) or hospital – (4 miles away – if needed).
The blood kept streaming, so I stopped at a local takeaway that had just closed for the night. The gentlemen inside let me in but didn’t have a mirror or first aid kit.
They let me stay there until the bleeding stopped and gave me paper towels to stop the flow.
As helpful as they were, the chaps in the takeaway couldn’t really help me identify the severity of the source of the bleeding, so I decided to set out again whilst phoning my other half for help.
When I finally got the phone free of blood and yolk, I managed to take the photograph above and realised that actually I wasn’t badly cut at all.
A swollen chin, minor cuts on the chin and in the mouth; and a chest full of egg.
In the aftermath I called 111 to go through a medical check-list and then 101 to inform the local police – although there is nothing they can do with no description of the assailant or the assailant’s vehicle.
Four days on and I have already made sure that I get out again, albeit on a third route. I did find myself flinching as cars passed but that didn’t last long.
It does seem that I am not alone, this kind of assault appears to be surprisingly common.
I’ve heard of walkers, runners, cyclists and equestrians being pelted with eggs, stones, bottles and cans; even being shot with pellet guns in more extreme cases.
I just count myself lucky that I was not hit in the eye and that I haven’t come across this activity before – hopefully it is quite rare.