Missing Mt. Marathon Racer

Sadly, missing Mt. Marathon Racer Michael LeMaitre has not been found. Today the Alaska State Troopers suspended the search.

However, Seward teams will continue the rescue efforts.

No one knows what happened since LeMaitre was last spotted by a race official around 6 p.m. July 4 approximately 200 feet from the summit.

Credit: Carol Griswold, Seward City News

The whole episode is a mystery. Yet as with most mysteries, various factors contributed to the outcome: The race doesn’t employ sweepers. The timing official at the top of the mountain didn’t wait for LeMaitre (who was the last racer) to reach the summit before packing up and heading down for the day. And there is no communication between timers at the halfway point at the summit to ensure all racers are accounted for.

In fact, by the time LeMaitre reached the halfway point, all timers and race officials had left the area. No one was there.

Worse yet, the race course isn’t marked. LeMaitre, who had never been on the mountain, could have easily become confused by numerous side trails.

With temps in the 40s and on-and-off-again rain, it’s highly unlikely he could survive three days in just shorts and a tee shirt.

It’s a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened (as if any tragedy should ever happen). My heart goes out to him.

Yet look at his face in the picture, which was taken at the start of the race. He looks so happy, so free. So fully himself. Maybe this isn’t the worst way to spend one’s last few hours. Maybe doing what you love and taking chances and facing your fears on a cloudy and misty mountain in midst of all of that glorious silence and beauty is the best way to die.

Rest in peace, Michael. I’ll think of you each time I run the mountain.

3 thoughts on “Missing Mt. Marathon Racer

  1. Karen

    I hope he persevered and is still out there shivering when someone finds him.

    If he's not alive when he is found, I hope he met his end quickly during a fall or something instead of the more prolonged suffering of hypothermia.


  2. ajh

    That is too bad the officials come down before the last racer. What a terrible policy. It definitely sounds like a tragedy that didn't have to happen. That happened with a young hiker dying around here and policies have completely changed due to his relatives pursuing it.


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