The 69-year-old contestant Li Jian'an remembers clearly that at about 2 pm on May 22, in the WeChat group of the Yellow River Stone Fo...
The 69-year-old contestant Li Jian'an remembers clearly that at about 2 pm on May 22, in the WeChat group of the Yellow River Stone Forest Cross-Country Race event group, there was a cry for help, "It's miserable!"
A girl kept sending out a distress message: "Help me, I can't stand the cold anymore", "I can't see anyone around", "You send a helicopter over." The distress message made everyone very worried. Later, there was no news from the girl, and Li Jianan didn't know what happened to her in the end.
The 69-year-old contestant Li Jian'an. Picture/provided by interviewee
Jianan Li is an international academician of the American Academy of Medical Sciences and director of the Rehabilitation Medicine Center of the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University. He started running five years ago. In the plan, the Yellow River Stone Forest Cross-Country Race is his entry event for the 100-kilometer cross-country race. On May 22, he and many young people stood at the starting point of the Yellow River Stone Forest Cross-Country Race. When the wind and cold rain hit, based on the weather and physical condition, he made an early decision to retire and descend, becoming one of the first players to withdraw to the hotel.
In an interview with China News Weekly, Li Jianan recalled that at CP2 at around 1 p.m. that day, he heard a blue sky rescue team member calling and said in the strong wind: "My experience is that the game must be terminated!" The opponent may be someone from the tournament team, and he is obviously still hesitating. The Blue Sky Rescue team member is very angry, "I have already told you, I tried my best, and the tournament must stop."
This is an artificially ignored warning, and the race did not stop immediately. A few hours later, 21 of the 172 contestants were killed because they were unable to receive timely help due to the loss of temperature.
A medium to low difficulty event
China News Weekly: Why did you come to participate in the Yellow River Stone Forest Cross-Country Race? Do you have previous experience in 100 kilometers trail running?
Li Jian Ann: I started running 64 years from now five years later, more than a dozen a year to run a marathon, to complete the marathon for me is not much of a challenge. I have participated in three 50-kilometer trail runs, but I have never had experience in 100-kilometer trail running. This time I was invited by a female mountaineer Luo Jing. She was the first woman in China to climb 14 8000-meter snow-capped mountains. We met in other short- and medium-distance trail running events. She has never participated in a 100-kilometer cross-country race. We both wanted to try, so we invited two other runners with rich experience in long-distance cross-country, Mao Shuzhi and Gao Xidong, to participate in the 100-kilometer cross-country race in the Stone Forest of the Yellow River.
China News Weekly: Before participating in the competition, have you evaluated the difficulty of the competition?
Li Jian'an: It has been evaluated. Judging from the information learned before the game, the difficulty is not very great. The day before the competition, at the technical analysis meeting of the competition side, analysts also said that the difficulty of this competition is moderately low in China.
China News Weekly: Before the competition, what service guarantees did the competition provide you? Compared with other domestic competitions, is the service guarantee in place?
Li Jian'an: Before the game, I think they still did active work. Compared with other domestic competitions, they are quite satisfactory. On the first day, the contestants are required to collect the number book, competition materials, etc., while checking the compulsory equipment of the contestants. I wanted to find someone to help me collect supplies, but the other party refused because I had to check my mandatory equipment. In addition, I was late for the race analysis meeting that night. I asked them if they could tell us again. The race team immediately gave the four of us a separate lesson and did a track analysis. So I think they did something seriously. At least before the game, they followed the proper procedures.
The 69-year-old contestant Li Jian'an. Picture/provided by interviewee
"The wind and rain are so strong that I feel like I am wearing no clothes"
China News Weekly: How did the game just start?
Li Jian'an: We fire at 9 o'clock. We follow our plan and hope to arrive at CP1 20 or 30 minutes before closing time at 11 o'clock. But when I arrived at CP1, it was actually one minute later than the closing time, and the variance of the match prevented me from passing. The first stage was 13 kilometers, and when we ran to the last two or three kilometers, the wind was already strong, but the rain was not heavy. So at CP1, we move on. From CP1 to CP2, a total of 11 kilometers, the closing time was 1pm. At that time, the wind and rain were very heavy and the ground was muddy, but because it was a flat slope, we were in a hurry and arrived at CP2 a few minutes earlier than the closing time. .
China News Weekly: When it came to CP2, how hard was the storm? Do you feel loss of temperature?
Li Jian'an: Yes . I am wearing a thin raincoat with a hat, which is rainproof but not warm, and my trousers are shorts. Nothing is dry on the whole body. For a moment I felt like I was not wearing any clothes, and I was so cold. After entering the CP2 supply point, I feel better. Luo Jing is more professional. She said that the instantaneous wind force must have been level 10 at the time, and the continuous wind force was probably level 7 to 8. We are all wearing sun hats. When the wind is not strong, the rain should be hitting the hat and dripping from the brim of the hat. But when we approached cp2, the brim of the hat could not stop the rain, and the rain swept across the face directly with the wind. People can't stand still, feeling a force behind you pushing you.
China News Weekly: Did you bring thick clothes that can be replaced?
Li Jian'an: No, I didn't expect this to happen, and these things are really heavy.
China News Weekly: Did you decide to withdraw at this time? Is there any entanglement in the middle?
Li Jian'an: Yes, with the wind and rain being so heavy and soaking wet, we decided to go down. Because CP2 to CP3 is the most difficult section of the entire event, with a climb of 900 to 1000 meters. When I was resting in CP2, I analyzed the wind and rain. The road was too difficult for me to get up.
We are basically not entangled. Mao Shuzhi and Gao Xidong were with me at the time, and Mao Shuzhi said that his own experience is that every rain must retreat. Such rain will cause the speed to be twice as slow, and it will not be reached within the specified closing time, so there is no need to run up. Gao Xidong had previously participated in a difficult cross-country race in China-800 miles of quicksand. He also felt that it was impossible to run in this weather. The three of us hit it off and decided to withdraw.
Luo Jing ran faster than us at the time. He had already run several hundred meters up from CP2. At that time, the wind and rain were so big that there was no sound at a distance of tens of meters, so we couldn't call Luo Jing. But she didn't run much afterwards, it should be less than one kilometer, and she decided to withdraw herself. But because of the difference of several hundred meters, Luo Jing finally retreated two hours longer than us.
China News Weekly: How did you withdraw?
Li Jian'an: CP2 had a small red off-road vehicle at that time. Me, Mao Shuzhi, Gao Xidong and another runner I didn't know, evacuated to the hotel in the car. The rest are waiting for other transportation equipment. We may be the first to withdraw to the hotel among all the players.
Rescue is too slow
China News Weekly: Some contestants asked for help in the WeChat group. Event staff in the group saw these help messages. What did they do at the time?
Li Jian'an: They gave guidance in the group, for example, everyone try to find a place to avoid the wind, hold a group, etc., but this kind of opinion is very weak. They also said that we are organizing personnel to come up for rescue, but this action is also very slow. I only realized after watching other media reports that it was already evening before the local armed police went up the mountain. Players started calling for help at 1 o'clock, and they were already calling for help around 2 o'clock. Even if the rescue force went up the mountain at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it was too late.
China News Weekly: Did any staff in the group announce the end of the game?
Li Jian'an: Not in the group. But when I was in CP2, around 1 o'clock, I ran into a guy from the Blue Sky Rescue team, who was calling the tournament team. He said that my experience is that the game must be terminated. But the other party should be still hesitating. The Blue Sky Rescue team was very upset. He finally missed a sentence, "I have told you, I tried my best, and the game must stop." Then he hung up. I don't know what the follow-up will be, but there is already someone from the Blue Sky Rescue team at least 1 o'clock. It is strongly recommended that the event organizer terminate the game immediately.
China News Weekly: Apart from this person, did you meet other rescuers in CP1 and CP2?
Li Jian'an : No. There are only three or four ordinary volunteers in CP1, and CP2 is the same, except that there is an extra person from the Blue Sky Rescue Team.
China News Weekly: After the accident, from the afternoon to the evening of the day, did the race team and the local government contact you? What is the status of the players?
Li Jian'an: The players are all uneasy. Everyone is swiping the screen in the group, which is too miserable. But the information on how many runners died has been unclear to us. I returned to the hotel that same day. By 11 o'clock that night, a total of three groups of people had knocked on my door. They should all be from the government or the organizer to confirm whether I came back safely and whether I was Li Jianan himself. At 11 o'clock, the other party told me that 19 people had been killed. This is the first time I know the news of the day's death.
Medical insurance points should be added to trail running
China News Weekly: You are a medical expert. From a medical point of view, what problems do you think there are in safety and first aid in this event?
Li Jian'an: Many domestic cross-country races are guaranteed by such events. If you encounter extreme weather, I am afraid there will be problems. Like the CP3 that was involved in this incident, there were only check-in personnel and no supplies. Didn’t the race side think beforehand that some players might have an accident at the top of the mountain? The top road is not easy to walk, but the players can go up, which proves that people can go up. Even if you don’t have a lot of supplies, there should be life-saving things, right?
I think that in the future, in cross-country races, is it possible to set up more medical insurance units? The current CP point is every ten kilometers, can it be every two or three kilometers in the future?
In a marathon, there are usually people with medical insurance for one kilometer, and there are mobile doctor runners on the road. Can cross-country races also have more intensive medical security units? In case of extreme weather, players can immediately go to this medical insurance point to take a break. The distance between the medical staff and the athlete who had an accident will be more appropriate. Two to three kilometers can ensure that the medical staff can reach the accident site within five to ten minutes, and the rescue will be more timely.
Of course, if you have to set up a medical insurance point every two or three kilometers in a 100-kilometer trail running, you may have to set up thirty or fifty points along the way, and the increase in the cost of the event is indispensable. But I think that the safety of life must be guaranteed. In the future, it is hoped that these medical insurance points will become mandatory requirements.
In addition, it is the requirements for ambulances and medical staff. I didn't see the ambulance in CP2. Later, I heard from people in the local hospital that the ambulance came to the stadium, but it might not be fixed at a certain point. In today's cross-country races, almost all ambulances stay down the mountain. There is no medical insurance during the tens of kilometers cross-country running on the mountain, which is very risky. In the future, the ambulances and medical staff at the CP point should be protected.
In general, I think the medical knowledge of the competition team is not enough. In the pre-match technical analysis meeting, there was only track analysis. There was no medical staff to talk about what accidents might happen to the game. In the future, this should also be included in the scope of enforcement.