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Several runners were treated for hypothermia and released at the scene, while another was also treated for a minor injury following a fall.
“Venturing onto the mountains, trails and bodies of water at this time of year can be dangerous because the weather changes rapidly and conditions can quickly become life threatening,” Sheriff Kelly V. Sparks said in a statement. “Even a mild rain in the valley can translate to blizzard conditions at higher elevations.”
The 50-mile ultramarathon, called the DC Peaks 50, kicked off at 5 a.m. before over a foot of snow and wind speeds of 30 miles per hour settled in, according to KSL News. Search and rescue crews started trying to assist around 9:30 a.m. and all runners were accounted for by 2:45 p.m..
“The rapid and collaborative response of our Search and Rescue volunteers, race organizers, and first responders from multiple agencies, resulted in minimal injuries and all runners returning home safely today,” Sparks added. “I extend my deep gratitude to everyone involved in this rescue effort.”
Runner Alex Michael told ABC4 News that he and his 17-year-old daughter had a painful experience getting to the aid trucks in the conditions but that they “had to get it done,” adding that he was “utterly impressed by the race directors responding so quickly.”