Road ID

August 2013

Bleeding and Disoriented

Seventeen years ago I was running along a trail in northern Japan. The trails there are beautiful and challenging, running through and around the very mountainous terrain. Running a familiar route in late-September in the Hakkoda Mountains between Aomori and Hachinohe, I checked my watched and estimated that I had about 2 miles back to the trailhead. As I rounded a turn heading east into the rising sun (rising sun, get it – Japan?) I saw him. He was probably about 60 years old and I had seen him a dozen times or so over the past year. We had exchanged head nods and, once, a high five as we passed each other on the trail. He was a strong and friendly runner and I was always disappointed that I never had a chance to run with him. As I approached, I saw him turn his head. He was on one knee and rubbing his head. As I got closer I could see the blood dripping through his fingers and onto the ground.

I asked him if he was okay, but I knew he didn’t understand. We spent a minute or so with him trying to explain what happened. I gathered that he had tripped over a root and smashed his head, neck, and shoulders on a series of boulders that lined the trail. The blood wasn’t pouring out, but he had two significant gashes on his head and was applying pressure with a bandana. I helped him to his feet and tried to get him moving along the trail. After a half-minute or so, he stopped and pointed back the way we had come, then turned again to look down the trail the way we were heading. At this point, I really became concerned. Up to then, I was fairly certain he had parked in a small lot where I pulled in a couple hours previously. There were four or five cars there and some looked familiar enough to make me think one must be his. Now, I wasn’t so sure. And clearly, neither was he.

After a minute or two, I convinced him to keep moving. If his car wasn’t there, I was going to have to drive him to his house or a hospital – and I had no idea how we were going to explain that to each other. When we reached the trailhead, he motioned to a red Subaru and I helped him into his car. He thanked me repeatedly and profusely and started to drive away. I stopped him and tried to tell him that I was going to follow him for a while to make sure he made it okay, but it was no use. I couldn’t act out that plan or make the right hand gestures to make him understand. In the end, I followed him for about 15 miles before I lost him on the highway. I headed back to my apartment, hoping he would be okay and hoping I would see him on the trail in a few weeks. Maybe he decided to take some time off, maybe he chose a less root-filled trail. Maybe. I never saw him again.

14 Years Later

Now an old man (37) with a wife and a bunch of kids, many things have changed since that trail run in northern Japan. I don’t run deep into the Japanese mountains with nothing more than a plastic water bottle and some candy bars. Now it’s the gentle hills of southern California, a modern hand-held water bottle, and a five spot to buy a banana or two at a nearby convenience or grocery store. Along with these things and my GPS watch, my wife makes me bring my iPhone. So that I can call her if I am “dead or dying in a ditch somewhere in the mountains.” How I would actually call her if I were dead is not relevant (trust me, I asked). Two years ago, however, I decided to buy my wife a Christmas present. Well, that sounds a bit awkward, I always buy her Christmas presents. But, just go with me on this…

A Present from me, to her, for me…

A few weeks prior, I saw an advertisement for RoadID on a running website and decided to take a look. Perfect, I thought. A small, comfortable wristband I could wear while running in the hills. With four lines of selectable text, I could put down my name and blood type, along with my wife’s name and phone number. Finally, at the bottom, in case the emergency responders were ultra athletes, I filled the last line with USUltraMarathons.com. When she opened the gift, she tilted her head and had a puzzled look on her face. “It’s for me to wear when I am out running,” I said. “If I get hurt, someone will be able to help me and call you!” “You got me a present, for you?” Uh oh… “It is a gift of peace of mind,” I stammered. She thought for a minute and tossed the RoadID to me. I put it on and quickly handed her the next gift. She quickly forgot all about the RoadID as she unwrapped an iPad Mini. Phew.

Next Generation RoadID

When I ordered my first RoadID, the options were limited to style, size, color, and – of course – text. Now, with the new Interactive RoadID, you can build a secure, online Emergency Response Profile (ERP) that supplies emergency information to first responders. Accessible 24/7/365 via telephone and Internet. Although there is a membership fee ($9.99 a year), you can customize the online profile at any time. Of course, the traditional RoadID is still available, with prices ranging from about $17 to $30 (no membership fees). They are even available as dog tags, ankle IDs, and shoe tags. You can even buy one for your dog! Additionally, RoadID offers tons of other running and biking products and apparel (including some great deals on last year’s gear).

Peace of Mind

You like to run – I get it. And you like to run deep into the forest or through the mountains. You see a few people now and then, but not a lot of emergency responders or pay phones. Also, you seldom carry your medical records with you when you run. The way I see it, this isn’t really something you should think about, just get it. For about $25, it will give your family some peace of mind. Its almost indestructible and it will last forever. Check out some of the real testimonials from the website. Here’s one:

Testimonial from the RoadID website…
While recently traveling for work, I went out for a run on a beautiful Florida morning. One minute, I was a mile and a half into a six-miler when I started feeling a little off – the next thing I know, I’m being loaded into a helicopter. The EMT held up my RoadID and said that they’d called my wife, who was back in Wisconsin. My ID helped them identify who I was, my wife’s name and phone number, and my blood type.

Since the accident, I have become somewhat of an evangelist for your product. You probably hear it all the time, but I strapped my RoadID on my ankle thousands of times and NEVER thought it would be used. I never thought it could happen to me, but it did.

Like a lot of your customers (I suspect), a lot of my friends are athletes. Some even own your product. I have had two tell me that they had a RoadID but didn’t always wear it. Well, they do now.

Thank you, RoadID

Kip K.
Sun Prairie, WI

The Verdict

Simple. Get this product. Or get something like it. When I think back 17 years ago to when I ran across that injured runner in the Japanese mountains, I suppose a RoadID wouldn’t have helped since I couldn’t speak much Japanese. But, most of us don’t run through areas where we don’t speak the language. Still, had we found another person out there on the trail, it could have helped.

Is it too dramatic to say it could save your life? Maybe. But, for the relative expense, its probably worth it – it is for me.

If you might be interested in picking up a RoadID, click here.

RoadID
Pros
  • Easy to build and order
  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable
  • Almost indestructable
Cons
  • Have to remember to put it on!
Recommendation
Buy. In my opinion, the RoadID is a great device for runners. It is also versatile – great for kids, dogs, etc.


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