A MAN has described the terrifying moment he was trampled to the ground by cows while out for a run with his dog.
Experienced trail runner Michael Conroy Harris was “remarkably lucky” to survive the incident without serious injury, according to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), which came to his aid.
The 52-year-old from Newcastle was running with his dog Ellie, a German wirehaired pointer, when he was surrounded by the herd and trampled into the ground at Garrigill, near Alston, Cumbria, in October last year.
He said: “We’ve had a cottage in Nenthead for 15 years and I’ve ran the same route in that area without encountering any problems before.
“During my run on the Saturday I came to a field with cows in it but there were no warning signs. I assessed the area and could see the stile at the other side of the field, so I thought I would be okay.
“I entered the field and I could see more cattle in that area, the cows then started moving and a group surrounded me.
“They knocked me face down in a cow pat and it was an incredible experience because I wondered what was going to happen, I thought maybe that was it for me.
“I didn’t know what to do because they were standing on me but for some reason they eventually cleared.”
Somehow, Mr Conroy Harris managed to leave the field and make his way to a road nearby, where he flagged down a driver who made a phone call to his wife Alexandra Conroy Harris.
She picked him up and took him to Alston’s Ruth Lancaster James Hospital, where the staff decided to call GNAAS for assistance due to his condition.
Mr Conroy Harris was assessed and treated by the GNAAS doctor-led trauma team before being airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where he stayed for five days under observation.
Mr Conroy Harris had sustained a broken leg and head injuries but GNAAS doctor John Ferris said it could easily have been much worse. “Given the circumstances, Mr Conroy Harris is remarkably lucky to have lived to tell the tale,” he added.
Mr Conroy Harris praised his rescuers. He said: “GNAAS offer a vital service and need all of the funding and support they can get. I’ve donated to the charity in the past and now I’ve set up regular giving and signed up to the lottery as my way of paying them back.
“I’m still a bit shaken but this hasn’t put me off running. When I’m fit enough I’ll probably try a different running route.”
GNAAS is reliant on public donations to survive. Last year they needed to raise £5.1m to keep flying. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.