WORTHINGTON — Anne Greenway described Saturday morning as "perfect" running weather as she headed out the door to accomplish her planned seven-mile run.
"It wasn't humid or hot," she said of the significantly cooler morning that followed several days of heat indices above 100 degrees.
Sure, it was a bit overcast, but the avid runner was accustomed to running in a variety of weather conditions. It was perfect — until it wasn't.
Greenway had gotten to the south side of Lake Okabena when she saw what she described as a dark "wall" move quickly across the lake.
The wind reached her location, and she witnessed a large branch collapse in Ehlers Park. It was enough to worry her.
Having left her phone at home, she quickly contemplated her options. Running faster or seeking shelter were among her options. With two-and-a-half to three miles between her location and her home on the other side of the lake — and no viable immediate shelter opportunities — neither option was going to pan out.
"The second it hit, it just didn't stop," she said of the storm, which produced damaging straight-line winds at speeds of between 60 and 70 miles per hour and torrential rainfall. "In my head, I thought I needed to get out. I was in trouble."
Just before the wind and rain hit the Worthington-area at around 9 a.m., Worthington contractor Doug Nau was working nearby. As the sky got darker, he decided to pack up and head home to get his windows closed before the storm hit.
"I took off and the wind was still blowing like heck and branches were down," he said about his drive along South Shore Drive near Ehlers Park. "The lake looked like a snowstorm, it was so white."
Just between the park and Lake Shore Clips and Love INC., he spotted Greenway. He pulled over to the curb near the bike path.
"This day and age, everyone is apprehensive," he said of the notion of a stranger pulling over and inviting someone in their vehicle. "I didn't know if she'd run over."
But someone like Nau is exactly what Greenway was praying for. Three to four cars had passed Greenway before Nau arrived.
Nau said it's his duty as a Christian man to help others out in good and bad times. Saturday morning was one of those bad times, he said.
"I was just trying to help someone out," he said. "I didn't want to see anyone out in that weather."
When Greenway got home, she examined the extent of what she'd gone through. She observed scrapes along her thighs and red welts on her lower legs. She peeled wet leaves and debris that had stuck to her arms.
Despite the scrapes and being soaking wet, Greenway acknowledges it could have been much, much worse if Nau hadn't been in the right place at the right time.