Cyclist who survives hit-and-run completes 10km race at Sundown Marathon

Mr Jonathan Lau, who was in a hit-and-run accident that left him with multiple broken bones, completed the Sundown Marathon.
PHOTO: Cyclist who survives hit-and-run completes 10km race at Sundown Marathon

Finishing a 10km race may not seem like a big deal.

But for Mr Jonathan Lau, 44, it's nothing short of a miracle.

In 2011, while cycling, he was in a hit-and-run accident that left him with multiple broken bones, including injuries to his spine.

He barely survived the accident. The medical repair work has not stopped.

In December last year, the sales and marketing director had surgery to permanently fuse 16 out of 24 of his vertebrates to prevent spinal cord damage and reduce the risk of paralysis.

Even now, he takes painkillers every day and sometimes has difficulty walking.

But these did not stop him from taking part in the 10km race at the annual Sundown Marathon on Saturday night.

The event attracted about 30,000 runners.

Despite pain in his hips, neck and lower back, he managed to run for 6km before walking the rest of the route, aided by his walking stick.

And tears of joy welled in his eyes when he crossed the finish line just under two hours later, cheered on by family members.

So why did he decide to take part in the event despite his condition?

Mr Lau did it for his daughters, aged 10 and 12.

Even though he used to be very active, he has been living a sedentary lifestyle since the accident. As a result, his weight ballooned from 69kg to 92kg.

He said with a laugh: "Carrying all this excess weight places an extra strain on my back. That's why I decided to become active once more.

"I felt that I managed to conquer my inner demons by completing the race."

By taking part in the race, Mr Lau also managed to raise $3,502 - generously donated by friends and family. He has donated the money to the Handcycling Association of Singapore (Has).

"I really admire the Has members for their grit and determination. Nothing holds them back," he said.

Mr Lau's life turned upside down on Dec 8, 2011 as he was cycling along Changi Coast Road with a friend.

He was an avid cyclist who used to hop on his bicycle for long rides three times a week.

Mr Lau recalled chatting with his friend when he was hit by a lorry. Instead of stopping to help, the driver sped off and has yet to be caught.

He said: "I was violently thrown forward and landed on the road. It was like being in a washing machine. I lapsed in and out of consciousness after that."

Rushed to the hospital, the medical team found he had sustained multiple injuries, including four crushed vertebrates, and had also fractured his ribs and pelvis.

Mr Lau was discharged about two weeks later and even though he was thankful he survived the crash, the thought of possibly living a sedentary lifestyle for the rest of his life soon sank in.

He decided to become active again only in March this year and went for long walks around his neighbourhood in Serangoon Gardens to prepare for the race.

"I also took part in the race for my girls. I want to show them that their daddy is not a quitter," said Mr Lau.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 3, 2014.
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