World of Sport

Crazy! Ultramarathoner struck by lightning manages unbelievable finish

World of Sport

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Fancy a go at the Hardrock 100 ultramarathon, a 100-mile race through the American desert in the height of summer?

Not unless you're slightly unbalanced, you don't.

And do you fancy completing the race despite being struck in the head by lightning half-way round?


That is the only sensible inference to take from the actions of Adam Campbell of Canada, who was struck by lightning.

In the head.

And yet he kept on running.

Incredibly, Campbell managed to get round after he and a pacer were caught in the thunderstorm beyond the 60-mile aid station.

Just as the pair approached the highest point of the 100.5-mile course around Handies Peak, he was struck. Remarkably, that did not end his race.

Campbell went on to finish in 25 hours, 56 minutes, and 36 seconds - around 49 minutes behind second place.

"Wow, that was a hard race," he said with delicious understatement after the race to Competitor Magazine.

"That course is legit - even without the lightning."

The course for the event winds its way through the mountains around Silverton, Colorado, and takes in some breathtaking scenery. But he cannot have accounted for nature's cruel trick on him midway through.

"There's nothing up there, no place to hide, no rocks, no trees, nothing," he said.

"We really didn't have much of a choice. We wanted to get over the peak as soon as we could and get out of there."

Campbell said the bolt flew out from his headlamp, and his pacer felt the electricity on the back of his head.

He was not the only one to have suffered in the field of 140 competitors.

One runner was treated for hypothermia, but most runners took shelter where they could find it with many cowering for cover.

Runners could not complain, after having been warned by the event's waiver:

"I have also been advised that I may be exposed to physical injury from a number of natural factors, including snow on the course, lack of water, high water, lightning, mountain lions and bears, and to the hazards of vehicular traffic, and to those other hazards attendant upon running across or along roadways during the day or night including, among other things, the fact that I may become injured or incapacitated in a location where it is difficult or impossible for the event's management to get required medical aid to me in time to avoid physical injury or even death."


The fact that Campbell got round is truly staggering. That he did not give up is incredibly inspiring.

So, who fancies a crack at the Hardrock next year? Really, what's the worst that could happen?

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