Runner's incredible realisation after completing half marathon: 'It's real rare'

Lachlan Fraser-Bell had no idea how brave his half marathon performance was until the next day when he went to hospital in intense pain.

Running a half marathon is no small feat and those who cross the finish line are no stranger to blisters, fatigue and possibly an untimely scramble to find a bathroom. Yet one runner who completed the Newcastle half marathon last weekend endured something else entirely, he just didn't know it yet.

Lachlan Fraser-Bell, 27, travelled from Sydney to face the 21.1 kilometre race and felt confident after months of training. As a friend and fellow runner, we wished each other and our four other mates 'good luck' before setting off. However, his body quickly showed signs of what was to come.

"Early in I noted my heart rate was elevated way higher than I expected... I had thought perhaps I was getting sick but I think looking back it was my injury starting to take hold," he told Yahoo News. "It was definitely feeling a bit tougher than expected and around 14km was when the pain started to creep into my leg noticeably."

Left, four men and two women smile at the start of the half marathon in a selfie. Right, four men and one women smile side by side with their medals around their necks.
We were all smiles before (left) and after (right) the half marathon in Newcastle, oblivious to Lachlan's injury last weekend. He is pictured third from the left in the first image and first from the left in the second. Source: Supplied

Despite the "punishing" slog he persevered, eager to simply finish the race.

"I remember hitting the finish line and just having to ask Soph [Lachy's partner who spectated throughout] to untie my laces as I felt I couldn’t tempt fate by leaning down and taking the time tag out of my laces to hand it over [to officials]."

Lachy was feeling intense pain in his foot after the adrenaline of the race wore off so naturally we carried him over to the pub and plonked him down in front of a beer.

"I couldn’t place any weight on my foot but it didn’t stop us from still enjoying a few beers," he laughed.

However, sense prevailed once he arrived back in Sydney. After a short doctor's appointment and a long wait at the hospital emergency department, it was confirmed he had a "Weber C grade break of the fibula" — a complete break of the bone which runs between the knee and ankle.

Lachy is helped to walk with two friends by his side (left) with jugs of beer on the table at the pub (middle). Right, the X-ray shows the complete break of his fibula.
Lachy was helped to the pub where celebratory drinks were enjoyed before it was later confirmed by doctors he had endured a complete break of his fibula. Source: Supplied

"The surgeon said the injury appeared to be an old stress fracture incompletely healed that looks to have levelled up to a full break through the race. He said the break was as clear as day," Lachy recalled.

Once we found out Lachy had indeed just ran a half marathon in a time of 2 hours 17 minutes with a broken leg, his effort was hailed the best performance of the weekend and promptly ended all teasing about him finishing last among the friendship group.

To Lachy's relief, it's unlikely he will need surgery but he is now in week two of "no weight bearing" on his leg, while he also endures daily blood thinning injections to prevent clots.

"I just keep thinking that it could be so so much worse and this forced rest for six weeks isn’t the worst thing at all," he said. "It's a real rare presentation of the break without a specific inciting event to have occurred in the race."

When asked if he'd consider another half marathon after the ordeal, his answer was a resounding 'yes'.

"Absolutely I want to run a half again. Now that it’s under the belt proves it’s possible — so with that mental unlock and a strong training plan I want that sub two-hour goal one day soon."

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