The Seward Chamber of Commerce is considering ways to make the Mount Marathon race safer in the wake of two tragedies during this year’s July 4 race. Over the weekend, the State Troopers suspended the search for missing runner Micheal LeMaitre. He was last seen near the top of the race course. And well known mountain runner Matt Kenney remains in an induced coma because of brain swelling at an Anchorage hospital after taking a bad fall near the end of the race. Cindy Clock is executive director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the race. She says the Chamber is not considering canceling Mount Marathon.
Clock says runners have suffered broken bones and heat exhaustion in the past. And the two incidents during this year’s race are by far the worst in Mount Marathon’s long history. She has been fielding suggestions over the past several days about how to make the race safer, including turning around runners who don’t make good time to the half way mark and having volunteers sweep the course.
While the State Troopers have stopped looking for LeMaitre, the Seward Fire Department is continuing the search. Fire Chief Dave Squires says 17 people were on the mountain today. He says all of his theories on what might have happened to LeMaitre have been “blown out of the water.”
Doctors are hoping to bring injured runner Matt Kenney out of his induced coma in a few days, to begin assessing the extent of his brain injury. Kenney also suffered from other injuries, including a compound fracture to his right leg. Brad Precosky is a close friend of Kenney’s and a spokesperson for his family.
Kenny was injured in an especially tricky section of the course that has competitors descending a wet steep rock face. Precosky says Kenney was very familiar with the course and was running the race for the eighth time. Precosky himself is a 20 time Mount Marathon finisher and six-time champion. And he is adamant that the Mount Marathon course shouldn’t change.
Kenney has medical insurance, but with uncovered expenses mounting, the family has set up a Wells Fargo fund to accept donations. It’s called the Matt Kenney donation fund and contributions can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.
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