Running hurtCebu Daily News
Sunday morning’s road accident that landed Manila-based couple Sandra Gonzales and her 42-year-old husband Peter in the hospital occurred three weeks after an athlete collapsed and died on the bike route of the Aug. 5 Ironman 70.3 in south Cebu.
Eerie coincidence or not, the collision victims in the Timex Run in Cebu City happened to be a married couple. In the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, the fatality was engaged in an sports event with his wife as teammate as well.
That’s where the comparison ends.
The first was a tragedy that no one saw coming. Ramon Igaña’s death was eventually traced to an embolism, or blood clots in the lungs.
The second accident, though unforeseen, could have been avoided altogether if the wayward motorist had taken the normal precautions of a sober, alert driver.
The driver of the Kia sedan, election officer Ferdinand Gujilde, tested positive for alcohol use after the incident, said police. He said he fell asleep on the wheel.
According to his wife, Gujilde played tennis with friends on Saturday and was heading home last Sunday Sunda morning when the mishap occurred.
There was no final finding of whether Gujilde’s liquor test showed he exceeded the allowable limit.
Still, the combination of liquor in his system—Gujilde may have drunk with friends to unwind on a weekend – and fatigue from the tennis match may have been too much for him, resulting in his loss of control of the vehicle.The car swerved to the right, crossing into the lane of marathon runners, and hit the Gonzales couple.
It could have worse. It could have been fatal.
As of press time, the couple decided not to press charges in exchange for the assurance of the now-sober and wide awake Gujilde that he would shoulder all medical expenses, therapy and other costs arising from the accident.
The couple took a plane back to Manila yesterday, possibly never to return for a fun run in Cebu.
The lesson from that dangerous mistake should not be lost on Gujilde or running event organizers and participants. He shouldnt’ have been on the road at all in the haze he was in Sunday morning.
Safety on the road is priority no. 1.
Running event organizers may want to set up more stringent security measures for fun runs conducted in urban traffic. You don’t know whether the motorist going shoulder-to-shoulder with Entry No. 5 is going to suddenly veer right.
A wide berth between machines and running humans is best considered. (During the Ironman triathlon, the entire lane was closed to traffic with only oncoming vehicles on the oppositte lane, within plain view of athletes, allowed in the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, for example.)
Traffic enforcers will have to safety proof routes to protect runners, motorists and the riding public if they want Cebu City to continue to be a capital of running events south of the capital.
More from this Column:
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard
- Enhancing notoriety
- Peace must reign in polls
- Election operators