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Triathlete’s long road to recovery after being hit by elderly driver

PUBLISHED: 05:00 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 31 January 2019

Triathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie Jardine

Triathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie Jardine

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A Norfolk triathlete says she was left with a “broken body” after an elderly driver hit her at 50mph.

Triathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie JardineTriathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie Jardine

Nurse Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting.

The 56-year-old, who was training for two long-distance events at the time, suffered five fractures to her back, a fractured sternum and ribs.

Her bike, meanwhile, had been split in half by the impact.

Almost eight months on and Mrs Jardine is only now learning how to run again.

Despite this she has ambitious plans to take part in a gruelling 100km ultra marathon later this year in support of the East of England Air Ambulance.

And she intends to complete it, even if it means crawling over the finish line.

“I have never quit anything in my life,” she said. “This is all about recovery to me. I have seen lots of people suffer more than I could ever imagine.

“I will complete this even if I have to walk, shuffle or crawl.”

Triathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie JardineTriathlete Sandie Jardine was thrown 30ft in the air when a car hit her bike at 50mph along Brandon Road last year - just a mile away from her home in Weeting. Photo: Sandie Jardine

Mrs Jardine was in peak physical condition when a car hit her from behind on June 6 last year.

She had been training for the Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones and a cycling event called the Lap of Anglia at the time.

“The driver simply didn’t see me,” she said. “I was thrown 30 feet and landed in the undergrowth.

“I was told that if I had landed on the road I would not be here today.

“The impact was so hard it not only broke me but also broke my bike in two pieces.”

Lying helplessly in the undergrowth in rural Norfolk, Mrs Jardine feared she would never be found.

But the accident was witnessed by a passing lorry driver who came to her aid.

She said: “He found me and called the police. That guy is my hero and we have kept in contact.”

Mrs Jardine was initially taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and was discharged later that day.

But she had to be rushed back to hospital in west Suffolk after suffering renal failure.

The elderly driver, who failed a roadside eye test, was eventually prosecuted.

Mrs Jardine said: “I feel sad for him because he did not set out to hit me and he is devastated.

“He has apologised profusely and he has had to face a court case so he is probably as much of a victim as I am.”

It took four weeks before Mrs Jardine went out on her first walk. A month later and she was back swimming and cycling for short periods indoors.

“At the beginning of my recovery it took me over two hours to walk 2.5 miles, but I kept going, even though it was hideously painful,” she said.

“It’s not just been something physical I have had to overcome. I have also struggled mentally. I remember every single detail of the accident.

“Sometimes I think if I’d been knocked out it might have been better, rather than having to lie in the undergrowth helpless and thinking that I might never be found and would die there.”

Mrs Jardine said she is now able to run three miles, but at a much slower pace than she is used to.

“I’m now learning to run again,” she said. “I walked 8.3 miles in just over two hours and I’m so proud of that.

“I’m back on the turbo trainer indoors and swimming up to 2km in the pool.

“It’s hard and I long for a day without pain but I will get there. I am no longer broken, just cracked a little.”

On July 13 and 14 this year she hopes to compete in the Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones event with her friend Fiona.

• To donate, visit www.eaaa.org.uk

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