Professional trail runner Gary Robbins has spent countless hours in the woods of British Columbia dodging roots, rocks and mud, even the occasional wild animal.
But while training for a road race on a rural Chilliwack road on Wednesday, Robbins came face to face with real danger: An angry man in a pickup truck running him off the road.
Robbins was doing speed training just after noon along Prairie Central Road. He was running west in the bike lane against traffic, as runners and pedestrians are advised to do where there are no sidewalks.
|Injuries sustained by professional runner Gary Robbins after a pickup driver intentionally nearly hit him on a rural Chilliwack road on Dec. 9, 2020. (Gary Robbins photo)|
Up ahead he saw a pickup truck dragging a trailer towards him in the middle of the bike lane. He could see the driver looking right at him and not moving out of the bike lane. At the last second Robbins was forced to jump off the road. He landed on a slick, muddy area and he wiped out, hit the pavement leaving him scraped and swollen.
“He was pulling the trailer down the middle of the bike lane just enough to give him the chance of not killing me but ruining my day,” Robbins said Thursday, adding that he is used to trail running rather than road running.
“I told my coach, I’d rather deal with bears. Bears don’t drive trucks.”
Asked if there was any chance the driver didn’t see him, in the middle of the day, with overcast skies, Robbins said he knows he saw him because their eyes met.
“I really wish I could give him the benefit of the doubt but he looked at me right before, a second before I had to jump and he didn’t swerve.”
Robbins isn’t seriously injured, although he did report the matter to police. Given how fast it all happened, he didn’t get a make or model of the pickup truck, but it was pulling an enclosed trailer with lettering on it. He thinks it had a “J” or a “K” or both.
If he could say something to the driver?
“Honestly, I would like that person to have to stand in front of me and my wife and our five-year-old son and just look us in the eyes for 60 seconds. If this person had misjudged the width of their trailer by a few inches, my son might not have a father today and it’s not an exaggeration to say that could have happened.”
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