Runner Vanishes In Grueling Alaska Race

Call for rule changes after other serious injuries

Ryan O'Hanlon

A runner in the punishing annual Mount Marathon trail race in Seward, Alaska, has been missing since July 4 and is presumed to be the competition’s first fatality in a year where several serious course injuries have sparked a call for rule changes. Race officials last saw Michael LeMaitre, a 66-year-old race newcomer, about 200 feet from the summit, lagging well behind the rest of the pack. Alaska State Troopers called off a search for LeMaitre last weekend, but the Seward Volunteer Fire Department has elected to continue with help from the Alaska State Defense Force. The three-mile race, first run in 1915, has participants tackle a 3,022-foot verticle to the top of a peak before descending the same route over slick rock and loose shale. In this year’s race, Matthew Kenney, a 44-year-old veteran racer, slipped over a cliff and is currently in an induced coma. Black Hawk helicopter pilot Penny Assman, a 34-year-old rookie racer, fell off the same cliff, breaking ribs and suffering a lacerated liver, despite a volunteer EMT attempting to break her fall. Race officials are considering changes in light of this year’s tragedies.

Read more at the Juneau Empire