Michael Conroy Harris was with his dog

Michael Conroy Harris was with his dog

A trail runner has told of his ‘remarkably lucky’ survival after he was trampled by cows.

Michael Conroy Harris was with his dog at Garrigill in Cumbria when he was surrounded by a herd of cattle and trodden into the ground.

The 52-year-old from Newcastle praised the Great North Air Ambulance Service which came to his aid after the incident.

The experienced runner was running at the site near Alston last October with his dog Ellie, a German wirehaired pointer when they were encircled by the animals.

He said: “We’ve had a cottage in Nenthead for 15 years and I’ve run the same route in that area without encountering any problems before.

“During my run on the Saturday I came to a field with cows in it but there were no warning signs. I assessed the area and could see the stile at the other side of the field, so I thought I would be okay.

“I entered the field and I could see more cattle in that area, the cows then started moving and a group surrounded me. They knocked me face down in a cow pat and it was an incredible experience because I wondered what was going to happen, I thought maybe that was it for me.

“I didn’t know what to do because they were standing on me but for some reason they eventually cleared.”

Mr Conroy Harris managed to leave the field and make his way to a road nearby, where he flagged down a driver who made a phone call to his wife Alexandra Conroy Harris.

She picked him up and took him to Alston’s Ruth Lancaster James Hospital, where the staff decided to call GNAAS for assistance due to his condition.

Alexandra and Michael Conroy Harris with air ambulance doctor John Ferris

Alexandra and Michael Conroy Harris with air ambulance doctor John Ferris

Mr Conroy Harris was assessed and treated by the GNAAS doctor-led trauma team before being airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where he stayed for five days under observation.

The runner had suffered a broken leg and head injuries but GNAAS doctor John Ferris said it could easily have been much worse. “Given the circumstances, Mr Conroy Harris is remarkably lucky to have lived to tell the tale,” he said.

Mr Conroy Harris praised his rescuers. He said: “GNAAS offer a vital service and need all of the funding and support they can get. I’ve donated to the charity in the past and now I’ve set up regular giving and signed up to the lottery as my way of paying them back.

“I’m still a bit shaken but this hasn’t put me off running. When I’m fit enough I’ll probably try a different running route.”

The GNAAS, which regularly undertakes rescue missions in the Lake District, north Pennines and the northern Dales, is reliant on public donations to survive. Last year the charity needed to raise £5.1m to keep flying. Details of how to help are on the Great North Air Ambulance website and are also available by ringing 01325 487263.

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