“The Last Man Up” by Christopher Solomon, Runner’s World

“Mt. Marathon Feet” by Ron Niebrugge / Niebrugge Images

Great story in Runner’s World about a death during the Mount Marathon race in Seward, Alaska, which has become famous for its brutality:

Why would anyone do this? you ask. The answer is that the peril of the Mount Marathon Race and the pain it inflicts are the very things that give the event its enduring allure; you could even say they are essential. Decades before Tough Mudder began roughing up paying customers, people were slapping down their money, then falling down—hard—at the Mount Marathon Race. On the flying descent, runners have fallen and had to have six-inch spear points of shale extracted from their hindquarters. Seward Fire Chief Dave Squires, who has aided injured racers for 26 years, told me he has seen everything from dislocations and neck injuries to angry tattoos from sliding down snowfields. A woman once rolled her ankle while evading a pissed-off bear. Another year a man was impaled by a tree branch. One roasting July 4 in the 1980s, 53 people were treated for heat illness. Squires has seen racers suffering from compound fractures—bones actually jutting from their bodies—still running toward the finish line. “Sometimes not very good,” he said, “but they’re still running.” Among three serious injuries in last year’s race, an experienced mountain runner from Anchorage chose an unusual line above the Cliffs, tripped, fell—and suffered lasting brain trauma. A pilot from Utah slid 30 feet down a muddy ramp and off the Cliffs, lacerated her liver, and was hospitalized for five days—saved only from graver injury by a quick-thinking EMT who broke her fall

“The Last Man Up” by Christopher Solomon

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