Today’s guest is someone that has lived through what, for many of us, may be our worst running nightmare: being hit by a car while out on a run.
The fallout from the whole incident inspired her to change directions professionally with a goal of helping others.
Deb Westergaard and I will go a few easy miles as she shares how a negative situation became her source of motivation.
Living A Nightmare
Deb was certainly not a new runner when she was hit by a car while on a run.
She was training for her 4th marathon and was well-versed in the rules of the road when running.
Her race was quickly approaching and her training was going the best it ever had.
The day of the incident was much like any other day as she approached the crosswalk during her run.
Per usual she pushed the walk signal and looked for cars as the lights began flashing.
The last thing she remembers is making eye contact with the driver that hit her.
Deb’s next memory was waking up in an ambulance.
The police made a single attempt to get her account of what happened while she was still being treated in the hospital.
This Episode Is Sponsored By: DKMS
Deb was hit by a car on a Thursday and by Sunday she still hadn’t heard back from the first police officer.
It was then that she found out that the report had been filed and she was found at fault for the incident.
Her inability to make it across the crosswalk in time was cited as the reason for blame.
It was only after she filed a citizen’s complaint that she was finally interviewed.
The officer had an unwarranted opinion of runners that was evident when he said, “I have a bunch of friends that run marathons and they’re a bunch of risk takers.”
Deb was not going to back down and allow the injustice to continue.
Even with a witness admitting they didn’t remember what they saw, the police never admitted any wrongdoing in the investigation.
The investigation is still ongoing, but in the future, it is Deb’s hope that there is more transparency in law enforcement and that people be held accountable for their actions.
New Career Path
Life coaching as a career option was something Deb had always considered.
Her background in Psychology and her natural ability to connect with others were ideal for such a change.
The repercussions from the accident has changed not only her outlook on running but her life as a whole.
Deb doesn’t let the accident define her or make her a victim.
Every day she is motivated to get out the door and make herself accountable.
It is her mission to be able to help others navigate the rough patches in life.
The day of the accident and every day beyond has been a learning experience which she hopes to share with others.
As a runner, she considered herself cautious, but she warns others to never question if someone will hit you.
You can’t control everything, but you can listen to what your gut is telling you.
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