A&E doctor Russell Gritton was out for a run as part of his marathon training when things took a rather nasty, sludgy turn. The 29-year-old, who lives in Stepney, had run 10-miles around East London on Thursday, March 17 when his route took him alongside Limehouse Cut canal in Tower Hamlets.
“I was considering ending it there and giving up on the run,” Russell told MyLondon. “I really wasn’t feeling it but thought ‘I’ll carry on’… now I kind of wish I hadn’t.”
In trying to avoid an oncoming cyclist, he sidestepped out of the way, tripped on a metal mooring ring and fell several feet below into the cold, murky depths of the canal. “I was like, cool – that just happened,” said Russell, describing the moment he plunged into the water. “My first thought was: ‘Oh no, my phone is f****d. Great, if I survive this, I won’t have a phone.
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“I bobbed out of the water and the cyclist asked: ‘Are you okay?’ I said I think so. She said: ‘You should get out’. I said cool, thanks. Helpful. It’s not a spa day, I’m not just going to hang out down here.”
Russell said: “About four-feet below the water there is this layer of sludge that you can sort of stand on but you start sinking into. I was trying not to think about what was in there, I was just going to use it to stand on and deal with it later psychologically. I’m sure it was probably a dead gangster’s face I was standing on.”
Unable to get back up onto the walkway, he swam over to a nearby boat in the hope that he would find help.
“My upper body is not fantastic. I was just sort of flailing at this boat, not able to get on it,” said Russell. “A man appeared on the boat and he lifted me out of the water like a child by my arms. I just had to accept I really did look quite pathetic.”
To Russell’s relief, there weren’t many people around to see his fall, and his phone was still working, so he thanked the man for helping him and walked the 20-minute journey home with pond weed dripping out of his hair.
All of his right side is bruised, one of his fingers is at a weird angle and he’s got three of four bleeding cuts on his hands. Russell’s friends were supportive, crying with laughter and telling him that he’s most likely got liver worms now. He says he’ll stick to Victoria Park and away from the canal for the rest of his marathon training.
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