Kiwi runner left for dead in US returns home

Nick Ashill said he probably would not be alive today if it were not for the skills of his wife Sarah who was in Cyprus but was on a hands free Skype call to him when the crash happened. - Photo: Givealittle

A New Zealand runner who was left for dead on the side of a US highway has finally returned home, after nearly four months in recovery.

Nick Ashill was nearly 4,000 kilometres into a run from Los Angeles to New York to raise money for pulmonary fibrosis when a ute deliberately drove him off the road on a rural highway in Ohio.

His pelvis and leg were smashed in the impact and he has had seven operations so far, with more to come for issues caused when pieces of bone pierced his bowel.

Mr Ashill told Summer Report he has mixed emotions returning home.

"Having spent time in the US since May ... you begin to put roots down and new friendships develop."

Mr Ashill says he probably would not be alive today if it were not for the skills of his wife Sarah who was in Cyprus but was on a hands free Skype call to him when the crash happened.

She talked to him while paramedics were on their way.

His surgeon told him he would not be able to run again but he is hoping to prove him wrong, although it is hard to walk 100 metres at the moment, he says.

Moving back home to Dubai with his children left him with mixed emotions, because the family had started to put down roots in Colombus where he was recovering.

An estimated $US9000 ($NZ12537) hospital bill will only partly be covered by insurance and that would have a massive impact on his family, he said.

Speaking of the incident Mr Ashill says he thinks it was deliberate.

"There's no doubt in my mind about that."

He said he still thinks often of the pick-up truck which struck him and sent him into a ditch.

"It moved over to the inner lane before driving into the shoulder, giving him no time to jump a small railing and escape."

He paid tribute to his wife. "She's definitely my inspiration," he says.

"Without her skills on the phone I probably would not be here now, it's not just the questions she was raising over the phone to keep me alive, it's moving a family over to Colombus Ohio and it's all the support and rehabilitation thereafter."


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