A special runner in Sunday's race - The Explorer: Sports

A special runner in Sunday's race

DM man back from fall

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Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:24 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Special to The Explorer

Lang Charters was an Air Force pilot who loved to run 12 to 14 miles a day and competed in five marathons before he plummeted 20 feet while hiking and nearly died on Nov. 10, 2008.

 

This Sunday Dec. 13 – just one year and three months after he smashed face first into one rock, then bounced onto his back on another – he aims to run a 13.1-mile half marathon in the 2009 Tucson Marathon, run from Oracle into the Northwest.

 

The love of his life will be by his side as a safety coach – as she has been since the day she watched him fall in Red Rocks Canyon outside of Las Vegas.

 

Charters can no longer fly an airplane or drive a car. He can't run alone outdoors because the accident left him with balance issues, double vision and no peripheral vision.

 

Theirs is a story of love and faith. After a three-month courtship, mostly by phone, Lang and Carla planned to wed on New Year's Day 2009. Both are in their 30s and had been married before. They were hiking that fateful day with his 3-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old young son.

 

Lang sat on a rock and was scooting towards the edge to check out a path down, when the rock surface gave way. He fell face forward 20 feet or more. In a graphic blog, Carla later wrote: "You hit the first rock full force with your face, head and wrists. You bounced off the rock as if it were made of rubber … You flew the air and hit the second rock …. Your legs were over your head and your neck was bent crooked to the side. Your right eye was out of the socket."

 

A respiratory therapist named Julie from Missouri was hiking nearby and came to help. Lang stopped breathing. Julie held his head while Carla did mouth-to-mouth breathing. Finally he started to breath on his own and a helicopter crew arrived. Lang had broken his skull, cheek bones, jaw, nose, right wrist and his lower neck in three places.

 

Lang – and Carla – spent two months in ICU in Las Vegas, then three more months in a brain trauma injury center in Palo Alto.

 

The couple had already planned to move to Tucson, with Lang stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, where he had served previously for five years. Lang signed the papers on their Dove Mountain home six days before the autumn accident. They finally drove to Tucson on April 17 and were married in their new back yard on April 20.

 

Today – in addition to training for the half marathon – Carla is studying social work, then plans to complete a doctorate in physical therapy and Lang has completed a draft of a book about this life-altering experience.

 

On Dec. 9, the couple is telling its story to a film crew from The Christian Broadcasting Network for the long-running program The 700 Club that will air on Valentine's Day.

 

At 7 a.m. Sunday, they will be side-by-side at the starting line of the 2009 Tucson Marathon, aiming to complete the half marathon.

 

 

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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