Skip to comments.Woman Completes Marathon a Month After Getting Stung 500 Times on Training Run
Posted on 11/19/2018 9:01:22 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Jessica Turnbow was on mile 16 of her 19-mile training run for her first 26.2 at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon when a bee buzzed by her ear along the canal path in Chandler, Arizona.
The canal paths were one of her favorite running routes, and she ran there often, even passing that spot just five minutes prior before she turned around to finish her run.
The bee was persistent. Because of that distraction, and someone cutting grass nearby, she wasnt able to see the swarm of bees around her.
Before I could even think, I had a head full of bees, Turnbow said to Runners World. They just landed on top of my head and kept coming.
Turnbow admits she didnt react the right way. She swatted and flailed until she she knew had to do something else. She had three options.
I could continue what I was doing, try to run, or jump in the canal, Turnbow said. I have always thought the canal looked refreshing after a long run, even though its gross and dirty.
She jumped in, and submerged herself to try to get the bees off her. But the bees held on. Turnbow rubbed her hands through her bee-filled hair to try to dislodge them, leading to many stings on her hands.
Then, a woman came to her aid, helping her get to a staircase that led out of the water.
The whole ordeal lasted about 10 minutes before EMTs arrived and began to treat her. At the hospital, the staff removed Turnbows clothes only to discover more bees still on her. Two bees even ended up escaping into Turnbows rooma nurse had to track them down.
At the hospital, doctors trying to remove the stingers counted 300 to 400 of them, not counting the ones under her hair. Then, after Turnbow was discharged, her family removed 50 to 100 that first day. The next, a friend and Turnbows daughter removed 150 more from her head.
In total, more than 500 stingers were removed. But even with the stingers out, the ordeal wasnt over.
I spent the next week swollen all over and trying to rest, Turnbow said. I was supposed to do a half marathon that coming weekend and had to miss it.
What worried Turnbow the most was her marathon training. This was a big week for her going into her first marathon her 20-mile run week. After a week of being inside, she went for a walk, but her heart rate was elevated during it, and she sweated even though it wasnt hot outside.
The next day she tried to run, and although she actually made it three miles, it still didnt feel right. When the weekend came, she ended up completing her 20 mile run, but also didnt feel the best.
It seemed like all of her training and all of those miles were ruined by one day.
I was feeling so strong going into that 19-mile run, Turnbow said. With a couple hundred bee stings, that was all gone.
Meeting the cutoff time was her specific concern. The Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon has a strict cutoff of five hours. But Turnbow kept on her training plan, and come race day November 11, she toed the line and crossed the finish with a time of 5:00:16.
I could not have been happier to finish, Turnbow said. Four weeks prior to the race, I could barely walk, and I finished something that most people will never start.
With the race done, Turnbow is back to normal. She was happy to inspire her two kids through all of this, both of whom are runners, showing them that no matter what, they can finish. Shes also happy to have her head feel back to normal now.
My poor head got the worst of it, Turnbow said. I am happy to say that five and a half weeks after the incident, my head finally feels normal again.
She had a big head?
Glad she’s okay.
She’s fortunate she didn’t kill herself pushing it like that.
You can’t pump that much bee venom through your system and not expect to feel it.
The marathon is not worth dying for.
The so called scientist’s are responsible.
Not bees, but wasps.
Bees do not behave like that. Even African bees will have just a few agressive guards at the hive, not a swarm on the attack.
"...500 bee stings and completed marathon..."
Do wasps leave their stingers in their target after use, like bees do?
I’m guessing they were Africanized honeybees. They went nuts all over her.
I can personally feel for this gal.
3 weeks ago, I was weed-whacking around some trees here on our property just before dark. I had safety glasses and gloves/boots on. I felt something “hit” my eyebrow. Thinking it was probably just a twig, I kept on working. Next thing I know, I’m being “hit” from every direction, but mostly around the eyes. I had weed-whacked straight into an underground yellow jacket nest without realizing it. I took off running for the house. They chased me all the way to the house and some even came inside after me.
I’m no spring chicken (68 this week) and was stung in about 25 or so places, but they mostly went for my eyes and face. I’m glad I had those safety glasses on. I’m not allergic to stings, but I downed some antihistamine anyway and coated the stings with some wet baking soda. I probably should have went to the ER but I didn’t. I was swollen and hurting pretty bad over the next few days. I pulled thru it.
Yeah, I can feel for her as she got it way worse than I did.
So what is the right thing to do?
Wasps don't leave stingers in your skin.
The African bees guard their hive aggressively. If you encroach, the sentinels will fly into you to give you a warning (that sounds like what happened to this lady: she got hit by bees buzzing around her before the swarm attack). If you continue closer to the hive, you will then be attacked.
The correct thing to do is to take notice of the warning, and reverse your direction of travel. Going back where you came from and finding an alternate route will prevent the attack.
Wasps do not leave their stingers. They inject them like a hypodermic and then fly away to fight another day.
Nobody is using the expression “killer bees”?
I would think the AP would prefer it because of the *racial* undertones of “Africanized bees from South America”. They were probably confused because their spell checker wanted to auto correct it to “Africanized-American transgender bees”.
/sarcasm, of course
My understanding is no they do not and can sting you multiple times. Bees stinger detaches and the bee dies so if people were removing hundreds of stingers then they were bees.
Disclaimer - I’m not an expert - just a victim!
Around 1000 stings is generally considered fatal to an adult.
Jumping in the water probably saved her life, but Africanized bees will wait over the water longer than you can hold your breath.
I have learned not to use hair products, soap, deodorant or laundry detergent that are scentedanything with a fruit or floral aromabefore working in the yard. The hard way.
You were lucky. A friend of mine’s elderly parents have a farm in Kenya. The mother died of bee stings.
The African ancestors of these bees had to contend with honey badgers, which have thick hides (relatively impervious to stings). So the bees evolved to attack in the hundreds instead of the dozens to vanquish these critters.
Then some people in Brazil cross-bred the Africans with some European honeybees, and then some idiot must have left a door open, the bees escaped and migrated northward, and the rest is history.
Makes sense. Thanks.
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