Injured New Zealand runner heads home, but vows to finish run across America


Doctors said he might never walk again, but New Zealand runner Nick Ashill is getting stronger every day.

A driver hit Ashill on U.S. 40 in Madison County in August, during his run across America.

Investigators are still looking for the vehicle.

After months of surgery and physical therapy, Ashill will finally make his way home to New Zealand on Friday.

He can walk a 17-minute mile, but he's a little faster on the elliptical.

That's pretty good for Nick Ashill, considering he thought he'd never walk again.

"That's true, but I certainly like a challenge," Ashill said.

Four months after surgeons put his pelvis back together, physical therapists at CarePoint East OSU Wexner Medical Center are getting him back on his feet.

"I'm going to start slowly, get back on the mountain bike when I get home and hopefully pick up on running in about 6 months time when the leg's a lot stronger," Ashill said.

Nick Ashill has been in Ohio longer than he thought he would.

"I haven't let go of the dream that I had to finish running across America. I might hold the world record for taking the longest number of days to do it, but that doesn't matter," Ashill said.

A driver ended Ashill's journey in Madison County in August.

A hit and run left him injured on the side of the highway.

"I hope that this person, sees this interview and will make that decision to come forward or somebody knows of this individual. I still think this person should be off the road," Ashill said.

Ashill says he's let go of the anger and frustration that put him in this position.

He says he has a new focus.

Ashill says he's determined to finish his race across America, whether it's walking or running.

He'll pick up right where he left off, at the spot a driver struck him on U.S. 40.

You could say Ashill has beaten the odds with the help from the people at his home away from home.

"I can't put it into words to, you know express on behalf of our family the huge gratitude we have to everybody," Ashill said.

Leaving for New Zealand on Friday brought Ashill mixed emotions, but he says he'll be back to Ohio to finish what he started.

"Whether it's a year, two years, five years I don't know. But to pick up the run where I was hit and finish in Central Park, Ashill said.

Investigators are looking for a dark colored pickup truck. They say it could be a 1992-1998 GMC or Chevrolet and a piece of the right side mirror was found at the scene.

If anyone has information, call the Ohio State Highway Patrol at #677.