I got goosebumps when I heard Phil Amburgey’s story during last month’s Parlor City Trot Half Marathon.
Even now, 18 months after his rescue from a traumatic trail running accident, Phil –– who says he’s a religious man – believes it was nothing short of a miracle.
Imagine lying all alone in the woods, cold and wet with a broken leg and a shattered ankle, fading in and out of consciousness, knowing no one is going to be out in this weather, kicking yourself for forgetting your cell phone. Finally you force yourself to crawl – in agony the whole way – half a mile to the edge of the woods.
You think you see three figures in the distance, so you scream for help.
The figures moved closer. But Amburgey thought he must be hallucinating: It looked like his older brother Craig and his two boys.
“I honestly thought I was seeing things,” Amburgey told Runner’s World. Under the circumstances, that made more sense than his brother, who lives in Huntertown, just happening to come to the park for the first time in years – and on a cold, rainy morning at that.
“There were a lot of things that had to come into play for him to have been there at that specific time,” Amburgey said.
I ran into Phil again last weekend at the starting line of the Fort4Fitness Marathon, his first since the accident. It was fun and rewarding to write about how his “miracle rescue” has changed his life, and I can vouch for what he says in the column about being more “outwardly focused” now, more intent on helping new runners and being a contributing part of the running community rather than just pursuing personal goals. I know he’s definitely inspired me.
Not that he’s abandoned having goals. Fired up after finishing the F4F Marathon – not as fast as he hoped, but without too much trouble, considering he still has a broken screw wedged inside a leg bone – Phil’s signed up for a spring marathon in Kalamazoo where he hopes to PR.
And as I write in today’s column, he’s also inspired his older brother, Craig, who found him on the edge of the woods that day.
After always thinking Phil was nuts for running, it turns out Craig is now giving it a try himself.