September 22, 2014

Black bears are not generally known for attacking people, though they are very common in densely populated New Jersey.     Photo: cnmacdon/Thinkstock

Bear May Have Killed New Jersey Hiker

Animal followed panicked group first

New Jersey wildlife officials are investigating an apparently deadly attack of a 22-year-old man by a black bear in Apshawa Preserve on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Five friends were hiking in the nature preserve when they saw the bear. Reuters reports that when the bear began to follow the hikers, they panicked and fled in different directions. After they regrouped, they realized one member of the group, Darsh Patel, was missing.  

The group contacted the police, who found Patel’s body two hours later, along with evidence that the bear had attacked and killed him. A bear circling the body at the scene was euthanized, but officials continue to investigate the incident.

“The last fatal bear attack [in New Jersey] was in the 1850s,” New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Larry Hajna told Outside. “We’ve had bear sightings in all kinds of environments, and they’ve always been safely resolved.”

Though black bears are not known for attacking people, Hajna cautions that hikers should always keep their distance. The state outlines safety tips for outdoor enthusiasts if they do encounter a bear.

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Boulder Marathon's five-mile and half-marathon races were scheduled to take place around the Boulder Reservoir.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

DA Looking into Boulder Marathon Cancellation

Organizer's explanations for last-minute notice called into question

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office says it will investigate the circumstances around the sudden cancellation of this year’s Boulder Marathon. On Friday, the race organizer announced that the October 5 race would not be happening.

Runners are complaining about both the abrupt cancellation of the event and the fact that Jeff Mason emailed registered participants on Friday saying they would not be getting any refunds. According to the Denver Post, Mason’s email explained that racers who registered for this year would have their entry fee apply to next year. 

District Attorney Stan Garnett, in an email to the Daily Camera, wrote that he would assign a senior investigator and senior deputy to look into the matter this week. “This is not a situation where a young child’s life is at risk, or anything like that,” Garnett wrote. “It’s an issue involving money, and we will take our time and figure it out, and figure it out fairly.”

Mason’s notice to runners said the race was being canceled due to lingering damage from a 2013 flood that caused the cancellation of last year’s race. Entrants in the 2013 events had their fees carry over to 2014. He also cited the death of runner Jessica Dillon during the Boulder Spring Half Marathon this year and the death of Lesley Kinder, the former race director.

But on Saturday, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said that Mason did not get the proper permits required to run the race. He needed one from the Colorado State Patrol first if he wanted approval for smaller local permits. Two thousand runners were set to participate.

“To even throw in the flooding is ludicrous at best,” Denver runner Michele Brown told the Daily Camera. “And then talking about the deaths—what do they have to do with anything? So I think we deserve a little bit more respect, as paying customers. We deserve more than some cryptic phrasing and a lame automatic reply via email.”

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Running a company well just might start with, well, running.     Photo: Fuse/ThinkStock

Study: Runners Run Better Companies

Marathon-racing CEOs linked to more valuable firms

A German study found that CEOs who run marathons are more likely to run companies with higher firm values. The results, published this month in a working paper in the Social Science Research Network, show that marathon-running CEOs helm companies valued between 4 percent and 10 percent higher than those of nonrunning CEOs, providing what researchers believe is rationale for using physical fitness as a hiring requirement for CEOs.

The study is likely to further the growing interest among professionals to stay extremely fit.

Researchers Peter Limbach and Florian Sonnenburg, financial experts from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Cologne, respectively, hypothesized that CEOs who exercise are presumably healthier and less stressed, which would lead to better corporate performance. 

To test their hypothesis, the researchers cross-referenced firm values of companies on the S&P 1500 index and CEO fitness. A fit CEO was defined as one who had finished one or more of the country’s 15 biggest marathons between 2001 and 2011. According to Limbach and Sonnenburg, marathon running is a good indicator of executive fitness as it “is a primary sport for people who travel a lot, have changing schedules, a high need for flexibility, and considerable workload,” and training can be done anywhere with little equipment.

After reviewing more than 2.5 million race finishes, the researchers identified 9,549 finishes by 2,694 CEOs. Limbach and Sonnenburg found that fit CEOs manage companies that on average have firm values of almost 5 percent higher. The correlation was even stronger in specific subsets of corporate honchos: those executives of above-median age (55), tenure, and workload. As executives age, spend more time in their positions, and take on more responsibility, firm values of marathon-running CEOs clocked in 8 percent to 10 percent higher than average. These CEOs also achieve better outcomes in high-profile mergers and acquisitions.

The researchers say their results held true even after controlling for CEO heterogeneity (the tendency of race-running executives to be more talented, athletic, and disciplined overall), past job performance, and other variables. Still, while corporate governance experts like Stanford professor David Larcker praise the research, he cautions how much we can depend on correlation as explanation.

“[CEO fitness and firm value] seem to be associated, but it is pushing things to make causal statements like if an out-of-shape CEO was replaced by a fit CEO, would you believe that firm value would automatically increase?” Larcker, who frequently surveys executives about business habits, told Outside in an email, “It may well be that fit CEOs are drawn to firms that are likely to have future value increases, and out-of-shape CEOs only get hired by companies on the way down.”

Marathon-running CEOs like T-Mobile’s John Legere, on the other hand, have been quick to promote the study.

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