SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Utah man seriously injured in a hiking accident is relearning how to run and walk, taking big strides along the way — like running in the Salt Lake City Marathon marathon.
“I want to see how far physically I can go without dying,” said Ben Eder, 25.
That’s a goal he took literally.
In August 2022, Eder was hiking the Tetons in Wyoming with a friend. They were climbing in between the Teton Glacier and Mount Owen when Ben slipped and fell 300 feet.
“Their Search and Rescue Team came out, flew a helicopter in, and rescued me,” he said.
Eder broke his back and both wrists, while also sustaining a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for 17 days.
“Coming out of a coma isn’t what it’s like in the movies,” said Eder. “It’s not like you wake up and all of a sudden you know where you are. It’s a much more gradual process.”
He had to relearn how to read, how to use his hands, and how to stand and walk. Now, eight months later, things have changed.
“If someone would’ve told me that you’re going to run a marathon in eight months I would’ve thought you were crazy,” he said.
On April 22, 2023, Eder ran 26.2 miles in the Salt Lake City Marathon.
“I just think if a 300-foot fall didn’t kill me then a marathon won’t kill me so why not go after it,” said Eder. “Life may be hard but it’s not that hard.”
Looking towards the future, Eder says he’s not stopping.
“There’s no good reason why I survived a 300-foot fall,” he said. “The one that I’ve come up with is I’m here to make a positive impact on other people’s lives and I want to do that.”
Eder’s goal was to run the marathon in under four hours. His final time was four hours and three minutes. He says he’s planning on competing again next year.