This story is nothing short of incredible! It's my honour to share this story from Phil Hewitt.
Phil truly epitomises every fibre of what a ROGUE RUNNER is, 'Running with Heart'.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of being one of Phil's fellow 33 runners invited to be interviewed for his book, incidentally called 'Outrunning the Demons' which is due for release January 2019.
Like me, Phil and the others featuring in the book, use the power of running as a therapy, meditation and time for self-care. I could not refuse when asked to be involved and for one can't wait to get my hands on a copy when it is released.
Thanks Phil, keep on running brother!!
Please consider the content of this blog, it may make you feel uncomfortable that may relats to one or more of your own experiences. Should it make you feel uncomfortable at all, please speak to a person you trust about how you feel, and/or seek professional help or even send me a message.
The trouble with being stabbed, assuming you survive, isn’t so much the knife that goes into you. No, the real trouble is the mess of thoughts it leaves behind – thoughts, in my case, far harder to deal with than the physical injuries.
I was walking back from watching England lose a one-day international against South Africa at the gorgeous Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town in February 2016. And I was stupid. I made bad decision after bad decision. I carried on walking when I should have walked back, and I walked straight into danger – danger quickly realised.
In a ghastly, grim, crime-ridden suburb, I was stabbed twice in the leg by a mugger demanding my camera. The weird thing is that the stabs felt like punches, which is probably why I fought back. I pulled him to the ground, where he started kicking me in the back, which was the moment I looked down to see by leg was awash with blood. No, those punches most definitely weren’t punches.
I let go of my camera, and my attacker got to his feet and loomed over me. I wasn’t getting up. To make doubly sure, he unleashed a volley of kicks to my chest and stomach before legging it through the rubble and undergrowth.
Thank goodness, a passing pizza delivery driver stopped within a couple of minutes. There was an awful lot of blood. He bundled me into his car just as I was thinking that my number was probably up.
And he whisked me to hospital. 15 stitches. Three broken ribs. A bruised liver. And one very, very messed-up head. And that was the problem.
Phil in Cape Town after the attack, a bit pale, bruised in pain and now battling with his ow thoughts
I like to know things. That’s my nature. But suddenly I was in a world where I knew nothing at all. What did the knife look like? I hadn’t seen it. Where had my attacker been all day? What did he get for my camera? Did he stab anyone else that day? How grubby was the knife? How many people did he stab that day? How many people has he stabbed since?
It’s more than two years ago now. But I still want answers. Does he remember me? Is he even alive? Surely, you can’t carry on doing what he was doing with impunity.
Questions, questions, questions – and all I had and have still got is the complete impossibility of answers, especially not to the big ones: what would have happened if pizza driver Steven had simply driven on by? Do I owe my life to fluke or masterplan? I haven’t got a clue.
Within a couple of weeks, out and about for the first time, I had a horrid panic attack in a busy shopping precinct. I don’t think anyone noticed, but for five minutes, if anyone had touched me, spoken to me, even come near me, I would have dissolved into tears. I just wanted the ground to open up beneath me.
So what did I do? The next day I did what I have always done. I ran. And it hurt like hell. Broken ribs. Flesh barely healed. But something lifted.
It’s two years, three months ago now. I am jumpy. Sudden noise makes me leap out of my skin. My memory is abysmal; my concentration is dreadful. But I am still here. I have added three more marathons to my pre-stab tally of 30, and I count them the most precious marathons of the lot.
I have still got PTSD and frankly can’t see it shifting any time soon, but running gave me strength. It makes me, ME again.
And that’s precisely the subject of my new book.
'Outrunning The Demons' will be published (simultaneously in Sydney, London and New York) on January 24 2019 – my tribute to the strength of character that running allows us all to show.
The book is based on 33 interviews with people from the UK, the US and Australia who have faced awful circumstances and have found that the best way back is to run.
These are people who have lost loved-ones to murder, have been caught up in terrorism, have suffered depression, addiction, alcoholism or bereavement, have been viciously attacked, have braved horrid illness, have suffered the horrors of war or have suffered outrageous misfortune.
But the thing that links them all (apart from speaking to me!) is that they have found space and time and connection through running. Running has helped them grieve; it has helped them heal; it has given them freedom; it has renewed and nurtured them; it has helped them move on, re-emerge, reclaim their lives and become stronger people.
These are fantastic people. Wonderful people. Open. Warm. Wise. Generous. Brave. Just fabulous. I am really hoping their stories will touch you as much as they have touched me.
I am thrilled that Jason Nelson, Australia’s Kilted Rogue Runner, is among the people I have spoken to. He is a brave man, a fine man, a man who has himself, found so many answers through running.
Like me, he knows that running can never be the solution to everything, but like me he knows that running can help put us back together, especially if we share our stories with others who have been through similar traumas – exactly as the book does.
I am sad to say that I haven’t met Jason, yet, but he is my brother in the shit we’ve been though.
Running has been my therapy. I’d always run. Now I knew why. And this book has been my therapy too. And I am so unbelievably excited that I can now start counting the days to publication.
I am really hoping this book will spark your curiosity – and to those of you who are actually in the book, thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking to me and helping me see that yes, trauma will change us, but it certainly doesn’t have to claim us.
I hope the tales of strength will lift you as much as they have lifted me!
Phil will update about the book on – https://philhewittauthorofoutrunningthedemons.wordpress.com/
Or please link up with Phil on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/phil.hewitt.524
The book can be pre-ordered on – https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/outrunning-the-demons-9781472956514/
A completely different looking Phil, after a heartfelt run no doubt
Thanks again Phil! Such an amazing story of finding strength through struggle
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You can also contact me via email at: TheKiltedRogueRunner@outlook.com
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