Candidate for the Merton JCR presidency has been released from hospital after accidentally impaling himself on a spike in the College gardens during a challenge issued by the current Vice-President during his hustings.

The two candidates competing for the post, William Tilston and Ben Holden, were blindfolded and asked to race a distance of approximately 150m through the Fellows’ Garden. The challenge was issued on the grounds that the President should know the college “like the back of their hand”.

Holden became impaled on a metal spike approximately five inches long, which was jutting out horizontally from a low wall. He told Cherwell, “It [the spike] had punctured my leg about an inch above the kneecap and gone in quite deep. The porter later told me he only realised I had impaled myself when he noticed some of my flesh… still on the bolt.”

Holden was subsequently rushed to the A&E unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital. X-rays revealed that the bolt had gone an inch and a half into his femur, dislodging a section of bone. He underwent surgery on Thursday to apply around 40 stitches so as to reduce the risk of infection.

Holden praised the College’s response to the accident, reporting how the porter on duty at the time administered first aid, and oversaw his transfer to the John Radcliffe. Additionally, the Welfare Dean and the student Welfare Reps took clothes from Merton to the hospital. On returning to College, Holden was given a ground floor room.

Holden sees the accident as being blameless, commenting, “It’s one of those things that sounds fairly perilous in retrospect considering the accident but 99 times out of 100 would have been completely fine and good fun. The blame lies with my idiocy in trying to run in a blind- fold and with sheer bad luck.”

William Tilston, the other candidate running for presidency, added, “To be honest, I felt little apprehension about the task, apart from making a conscious thought to be very careful on the few stairs there were and in general not to go too quickly. I had no qualms about the challenge then and none now. It was highly unlucky and I’m pretty sure it won’t be done again, but for things to end as they did was completely unforeseeable. I don’t think anyone was to blame, and that is the consensus around College.”