SleepMonsters.com is reporting that four ultrarunners competing in the Kimberly Ultramarathon were seriously injured by a brushfire last Friday. Apparently, runners Kate Sanderson, Turia Pitt, Michael Hull, and South African Martin Van Der Merwe were caught in a canyon when the fire started, with each of them sustaining serious, and in the case of the two women, life threatening injuries.
The event, which is put on by Racing The Planet, took place in the northern region of Western Australia and featured a course 100km (62 miles) in length. The Kimberley Plateau is well known for its remote and rugged terrain, featuring steep canyon walls and twisting gorges. Dry weather conditions likely helped contribute to the fire.
The four athletes who became trapped by the flames were forced to try to out run them as they quickly engulfed the small gorge they were traversing at the time. As a result, Sanderson and Pitt have suffered burns to 60-80% of their bodies, and both are listed in critical condition in Darwin hospital. Hull and Van Der Merwe escaped with 10-20% of their bodies burned, and while their conditions are not as dire, they remain in the hospital as well.
Such a sad story, and lets hope the two ladies pull through. Living in Austin, Texas, I have an understanding about how bad these wildfires can be at the moment. They spark up unexpectedly and spread very quickly, bringing a lot of destruction in their wake.
Keep your fingers crossed for these athletes.
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