Authorities say a black bear killed a 16-year-old runner while he was competing in an Alaska race on Sunday.
Anchorage television station KTUU reports that the teenager, whose identify has not been released, was a participant in the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race between Anchorage and Girdwood.
Brad Precosky, one of the race directors, says the runner had apparently made it to the halfway point turnaround on Bird Ridge trail and was on his way down when he texted his mother that he was being chased by a bear. Officials attempted to locate the boy, whose body was found about a mile up the path, at about 1,500 vertical feet.
“I’ve been running in the mountains for 30 years,” said Precosky. “People come down off the trail and say they’ve run into a bear. Sometimes that means nothing. Other times, it’s really serious. Like this.”
Alaska State Troopers said Sunday that the boy’s remains were airlifted from the scene. A park ranger shot the 250lbs bear in the face, but it ran away.
The Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb was being run for the 29th year in succession, over a course that takes in heavily wooded terrain. Runners had reported seeing several bears on Sunday. “There was a brown bear sighting, there was a black bear with cubs sighting,” Precosky said. “We didn’t know which was which.”