Scottish endurance cyclist and women’s record holder for the Land’s End to John O’Groats, Christina Mackenzie has staged a phenomenal recovery and returned to racing, however she said the fact that the SUV driver, who left her severely injured after a hit-and-run is still on the roads is still taking a toll on her mentally, and that she has no hope that Police Scotland will ever manage to trace them.
“With the help of a physio, hard work and commitment, I have physically recovered – but not so much mentally,” she said. “I continue to struggle to deal with the events of September 27, 2022.”
She said: “It’s been a year since my accident and I’m disappointed to say the driver of the vehicle has not been traced despite a clear image of the vehicle and a national public appeal.”
“To be hit and left motionless with no regard for life and now one year later in the knowledge that Police Scotland have failed to trace the driver adds to my insecurities and self-worth.
“I’m grateful for friends, the cycling community and press that have appealed for more action to be taken or information that could lead to the driver being traced.
“Unfortunately, at this stage now I have no hope left that the driver will be traced and give me the closure I require to try and forget about this incident.
“Instead I concentrate on the things I can control – my own wellbeing and fitness – and will continue to be grateful I’m still here and can ride my bike again,” she told the Observer.
The 46-year-old Mackenzie, who’s a specialist in tackling brutal long-distance rides, was on a purple patch since 2021. She had made headlines in July 2021 for breaking the almost two-decades old women’s cycling record for the punishing 839-mile long Land’s End to John O’Groats, finishing the ride in 51 hours, five minutes and 27 seconds and beating the previous time by an hour and 40 minutes.
The next year, she went on to set a new women's solo record for the famous North Coast 500, covering the 516-mile route in 36 hours, 39 minutes and seven seconds.
And in August, she became Scottish 100-mile time trial champion and at the start of September took her second British 12-hour championship, recording 263 miles on the Monmouthshire course.
However, her stellar year came to a horror end after being struck by a hit-and-run SUV driver who “left her for dead”, while she was training near Stirling. She suffered a broken pelvis and said that she felt “excruciating pain” and had “no mobility whatsoever” after the collision.
But nine months and some gruelling physiotherapy sessions later, she has not only found herself back in the saddle, but also qualified for the monumental 2023 UCI World Championships road race.
In January this year, Mackenzie was able to go for a bike ride for the first time since the crash. Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime programme, she recalled her challenging rehabilitation, which involved even learning to walk again.
When she got on her bike, she admitted feeling “twitchy” during the 45-mile ride which passed the crash site near Kippen and told the BBC programme “it was really quite daunting” and the collision “knocked my confidence completely”.
“I just felt really twitchy, looking over my shoulders the whole time,” she said.
At the time of the crash, Mackenzie spoke of the difficulty to understand the driver not stopping to help, saying, “I'm disgusted by it. I'm not just a cyclist, I'm someone's sister, I'm someone's daughter.”
Her injuries left her housebound for the first month and even after that the first two months were “just horrific, the pain that I was in, no mobility whatsoever” and had a serious impact on her mental health.
The driver of the black SUV, believed to be a black Ford Ranger with tinted windows — towing a silver trailer, has still not been found despite a lengthy police investigation.
Mackenzie had earlier described the knowledge that the motorist responsible still has not been caught as “frustrating” and a “complete disgrace”.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.