Suffering a serious leg injury after falling from a race horse would for most people be enough to put them off competing in a London Marathon.
That however is not the case for Cat Elliott who come April will be slipping on her running shoes and pounding the streets of the capital to take part in this year’s renewal of the world famous 26.2 mile contest, just 13 months after suffering a fall on the gallops that left her with a bimalleolar fracture to her right ankle.
While now well into her training for this year’s marathon, sponsored by Virgin Money, Cat, who is racing secretary to Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani has reflected back on that fateful day in March which saw her take a tumble from now retired Group Two winning filly Silk Sari and leaving her requiring treatment from the Magpas Helimedix crew.
“It was Silk Sari’s first piece of work for the season and I was at the back of string leading a group of three and we were just about to quicken up when she ducked out,” said Cat.
“I had anticipated what she was going to do but as she went right she came back underneath me and went left with me still going right as she came back left she and that was the finishing touch as I went over her head.
After initially being treated by a first response team, then a paramedic, a call was made out to the Magpas Helimedix team such was the severity of the injury.
“From my initial thoughts I knew that I landed flat on my back and that my head had been thrown back before hitting it hard on the ground,” said Cat.
“It took me a moment to gather my thoughts and get myself together and it was when I went to stand up I realised that it was not right as it felt like a lump of lead.
“At first it was thought that I had suffered a compound fracture but then they saw my ankle was dislocated and it was a case of the helimedix team putting my foot back into my ankle to stabilise it.”
Rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, Cat, who prior to joining up with her current boss worked in a similar role out in Dubai for trainer Doug Watson, was not operated on until the next day to allow the swelling to reduce.
Following a five-hour operation, which saw 11 screws and two plates placed into her right ankle, the Yorkshire born rider started her road to recovery, and it was soon after it that she decided to take on the challenge of the London Marathon.
“A couple of weeks after the accident I was watching the London Marathon at home in bed and I entered the ballot the year before for last year’s race but never got in, so I thought I would give it a go to raise money for the Magpas Helimedix team,” said Cat.
Learning of her place in this year’s race in October, Cat begun to take her steps to achieving her goal with the help of James Piercy from KPO Osteopath, and Annika Broster from the Racing Centre.
“I asked Annika to help come up with a training programme, while I needed physio as my movement was quite restricted,” said Cat.
“I have recently been able to manage a 10k run so I am a quarter of the way there. It is just a case of trying to manage my ankle without too much pressure on it. Unlike a lot of marathon runners I have been doing more work on the treadmill and cross trainer as it puts less weight on my ankle.”
On Friday, Cat met members of the team that treated her in the aftermath of her fall, which on Monday led her to making a brief television appearance, one of which has had a positive impact on her fundraising efforts.
“It was great to see the guys who helped me on the day as without their treatment I could have sustained serious muscle and ligament damage,” said Cat.
“The aim is to raise a minimum of £2,500 as that is the cost of one call out. After being on the news, I collected around £1,000 in 24 hours and my total now stands at just under £1,400. People have been so generous it is ridiculous. Hopefully the support will continue up until the race.”
To sponsor Cat, search Catherine Elliott at ukvirginmoneygiving.com.