American ultrarunner and skyrunner Hillary Allen was ranked number one in the 2017 Skyrunning World Series when she fell 150ft from an exposed ridge-line during the Tromsø Skyrace in Norway. During the fall, her body took the full force of several impacts and by the time fellow racer Manu Par had scrambled down to her, she had broken 14 bones, including both wrists, five ribs, both feet and vertebrae L4 and L5 in her back.
Incredibly, Hillary survived. But being ‘alive’ and enduring multiple surgeries was just the beginning of her battle for survival, as she recounts in her new book, Out And Back: A Runner’s Story of Survival Against All Odds.
Doctors told Hillary she would never run again, but after two years of rehab and recovery, she returned to ultrarunning, even setting several new course records. The 32-year-old also discovered cycling as part of her recovery and her gravel riding resume now includes none other than the notorious Unbound Gravel – considered the gravel race to end all gravel races.
I chatted to Hillary over the phone back in July about the long road to recovery, the setbacks and further surgeries she endured, and the freedom she now feels when she lines up on the start line.