Runner recovering after car hits her during Austin Marathon

Lani Nguyen Martinez spent Valentine's Day afternoon at the hospital after she was struck by a car while running the Austin Marathon. Photo courtesy Lani Nguyen Martinez.
Lani Nguyen Martinez spent Valentine’s Day afternoon at the hospital after she was struck by a car while running the Austin Marathon. Photo courtesy Lani Nguyen Martinez.


A Pflugerville woman is recovering today from injuries sustained when a car struck her during the Austin Marathon.

Lani Nguyen Martinez, 31, had passed the 17-mile marker of the 26.2-mile race Sunday when she was hit from behind on Foster Lane, between Great Northern Boulevard and Shoal Creek Boulevard.

Nguyen Martinez was running in the center of the marked-off runners’ lane when she went down just before 11 a.m. A middle-of-the-pack marathoner, she was looking forward to the next water station, staffed by volunteers of the Down Syndrome Association, because she was running for charity for the organization.

“I saw a runner look back at me, and wondered what he was looking at,” she said. “All of the sudden I just felt impact and the back of my head hit the hood. I remember seeing a flash of part of the car and then I rolled off and hit the pavement.”

Runners and bystanders came to her aid. An ambulance transported her to North Austin Medical Center, where she was treated for bruises, a concussion and a neck strain and released a few hours later.

“I woke up today feeling like I got hit by a car, then thought ‘Oh wait, I did,'” the billing analyst for Apple Inc. said. “I’m banged up and have a lot of headaches, but for once I’m not sore from running.”

Nguyen Martinez finished last year’s marathon, and plans to finish this year’s, too, as soon as doctors clear her to run again. Austin Marathon officials told her they would give her a finisher’s medal when she completes the race.

“So instead of my hospital wristband it’ll be the medal,” she said.

She’ll also still qualify for her Austin Distance Challenge finisher’s jacket, according to Iram Leon, president of Austin Runners Club, which awards the prize to runners who finish each in the series of six races.

“I’m a little frustrated, but at the same time at least it was just me and not a group of runners, and I came out with nothing broken. I feel blessed to be here,” she said.

Conley Sports, which puts on the race, could not immediately be reached for comment.

We’re checking to find out if charges have been filed against the driver of the car.


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