Number, cost of injury claims spurs call for caution

Dunedin student Pippa Dold (22) goes for a run yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Dunedin student Pippa Dold (22) goes for a run yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Running is obviously good for your health — but it can also cause plenty of strife.

More than 7000 injury claims related to running have been accepted in Otago over the past five years.

That added up to claims worth $3.6million, an ACC spokesman said yesterday.

Running injuries in Otago during the period peaked last year, when there were 1183 claims totalling $682,214. There were 636 claims this year by July 31.

New Zealand ultra-running great Lisa Tamati, now working as a coach, said it was pleasing to see people running for their health and wellbeing, especially during stressful times such as lockdown, but it seemed some were going early and going hard.

"Everyone thinks that running is easy and that you put one foot in front of the other and it’s a simple thing: you buy a pair of shoes and then off you go.

"It’s not. It’s a skill like ballet that you need to work on and perfect.

‘‘You need good form, you need strength and mobility, you need a coach and a properly structured plan."

Tamati, who competed in 140 ultra-marathons around the globe, totalling over 70,000km , said stress was another major factor in injuries.

"When you’re stressed, your body is tighter, your immune system is down and your digestive system isn’t working as well. Learning to manage our stress levels is so important.

"Getting out in the elements for a run is great for your mental health. We need to be out in nature, in the sunshine and pushing ourselves. It’s part of our DNA and is hugely beneficial to our mental and physical wellbeing."

Tamati said it was common for ‘‘weekend warrior’’ runners to sign up for a marathon or half-marathon without a plan.

They try to cram in their training and end up injured and demoralised.

"Your fitness is really hard won. When you get an injury, you’re back to scratch again so preventing injuries is so important."

ACC, which invests about $80million in injury prevention, has sounded a similar caution.

Between now and late November, Covid permitting, the Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin marathons, along with several ultra-marathons, will attract thousands of regular and part-time runners.

Across New Zealand, there were 81,845 claims accepted for running-related injuries over the past five years, which cost $52.6million to help people recover.

On the back of Covid-19 lockdowns, there were 4111 running injuries in spring 2020 (September, October, November) — the highest seasonal figure since 2016.

The 40-44 age group had the most running-related injury claims (9712) over the past five years ahead of the 25-29 (8669) and 35-39 (8575) groups.

 

Comments

I must admit to getting somewhat annoyed when ACC put up figures and ads on TV about doing things that can cause an injury and how much it costs the country.

Now it would seem that running is also too risky to take on unless you have a coach that will make you into a marathon runner without the risk of getting injured !

This brings into question age limits ... do you have to get coach for your baby before they take their first step, when they go to Kindy, School ... primary, intermediate or high school, and are ACC or the government going to pay the full cost of having these coaches ? Obviously university students will just be adding the cost to their already crippling student loans ... no worries there, they already put rehydration requirements on their loans.

In a recent study, it was found that males over 45 years of age had the highest injury rate ... the most common cause of their injuries was trying to keep up with much younger runners who had passed them, or trying to catch up to runners in front of them, the common denominator being the other runners were almost always of the 18 - 40 yr age group, female and wearing the now essential spandex running tights !!

$600K/year is totally trivial. To put it into perspective, it's about the same as the OU VC's annual salary.

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