Josh Strahorn knew something was wrong when cleaning his sunglasses didn't fix his blurred vision. But he kept going, racing to the top of Canberra's Mt Ainslie before realising the view had changed forever.
"When I closed my left eye, I couldn't see anything out of the right," the Dubbo product and current ACT Brumbies' speed and rehabilitation coach said.
"I raced back down the mountain to my ute and went straight to emergency."
The Australia-wide COVID-19 shutdown has affected so many people in different ways, but Strahorn could never have imagined the chain of events that would threaten his livelihood and his health.
The 36-year-old was one of several Brumbies coaching staff members to have their pay slashed and work reduced to two days per week when the Super Rugby season came to an abrupt halt in March.
Strahorn also runs a coaching and rehabilitation gym in Queanbeyan, but that was shut, too, because of physical-distancing restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus spread.
So Strahorn went searching for work to ensure he could provide for his family, reaching out to a long-time friend who owned a landscaping business.
"I haven't landscaped since moving from Dubbo to Canberra seven or eight years ago," Strahorn said.
"I thought that I would do it for maybe a month, just a couple of days a week."
But what seemed like a saviour soon turned into a nightmare. Strahorn had been on the job site for just four days when he swung a mattock into some dirt and a piece of debris flew into his right eye. It left a large black spot in his vision, so he immediately called his doctor.
"[The doctor] said when you get hit in the eye, it can change its shape," Strahorn said.
"He said if it doesn't dissipate, head to emergency. But within two hours the problem was gone, so I got back to work."
Seeing clearly and keen to get back on the trails, Strahorn set off on the Mt Ainslie run he has done so many times, including a massive 53 up-and-down laps in 20 hours as part of the Neverest challenge in 2017. But this time was different.
"I put my sunglasses on when I went for my run and I initially thought that my sunnies had started fogging up," Strahorn said.
"I took my sunnies off and realised it wasn't my sunnies, it was the top left-hand corner of my right eye that had started to go blurry. I continued my run - which was a bit silly - but when I got to the top of Mt Ainslie, I realised that when I closed my left eye, I could not see a thing out of the right."
Strahorn has since undergone two gruelling three-hour operations in an attempt to repair the damage to his retina and macula. He has been told it's unlikely he will be able to see out of his right eye again.
Barring a miracle, I won't have much vision in that eye ever again.Josh Strahorn
"It was a bit touch-and-go on whether I was going to lose my eye," Strahorn said.
"The doctor said that I may get a few shadows and lights from my peripheral vision, but the central vision [in his right eye] has gone. Barring a miracle, I won't have much vision in that eye ever again."
Strahorn started to contemplate the impact on his career, and his ability to provide for his wife and two daughters, aged three and one. The medical bills for two operations had been a significant financial hit, particularly at a time when his income had all but dried up.
But while luck had deserted him, those around him had not and that's not surprising when you consider Strahorn's generosity.
In 2011 he ran 420 kilometres from Wagga Wagga to Dubbo to raise money for people in the village of Giriami in Kenya. The charity run raised more than $15,000, which paid for new classrooms and a second toilet block for the community of approximately 200 people.
In 2017, he was raising money for charity again. This time it was the Neverest Challenge that required participants to climb the height of the world's highest peak at a local landmark. For the Canberra leg, the task was to complete 53 laps of Mount Ainslie in one day.
Strahorn competed solo but still accomplished the team target in 20 hours, raising $5000 for the Black Dog Institute.
This time he was the one who needed help, and the Brumbies staff responded immediately to offer Strahorn $1300 to help with his medical bills.
"I was very touched by the support I received from the club," Strahorn said.
Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said he could not believe Josh's run of bad luck and the organisation was happy to respond.
"He is just a really good fella," McKellar said.
"He brings a lot of energy. You have to have those upbeat people that get others up and certainly now there are times where we have to help him get up as well."
It is almost two months since his operation and Strahorn has found it difficult to adjust to looking at life out of one eye. But he is determined to find positives out of what has been a stressful situation.
"I probably spent a lot more time at home with the kids and Belle than I have in the past, which has been a little positive," Strahorn said.