87 stranded marathoners rescued in Davis County amid blizzard-like conditions

Local News

(Courtesy of Jordan Burrows)

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Officials confirm 87 stranded marathoners were rescued amid blizzard-like conditions along the DC Peaks 50 trail on Saturday.

Davis County Sheriff Kelly Sparks confirmed all runners have been rescued and are safely off the mountain. Search and rescue teams rescued runners from across different locations spanning Francis Peak, Thurston Peak and Farmington Canyon.

The runners were caught in blizzard-like conditions, with tons of falling snow and “white-out” conditions. The runners experienced extreme weather with 12–18 inches of snow.

When the runners were discovered, they were in “various states of distress,” but officials say no significant injuries were sustained. Medical care was administered at the base of the mountain treating hypothermia and minor injuries. All runners were released without the need for medical transport.

Crews were able to respond in 15-20 minutes and rescue efforts were finished around 2:30 p.m. Search and Rescue personnel covered the entire racecourse for several hours on foot along with 4x4s and snowmobiles.

The marathon is a 50-mile race that took place on Saturday morning. The designated marathon trail is described as a “tough course” with about 12,000 feet of vertical gain and 10,000 feet of descent.

Authorities were notified of the emergency around 9:30 a.m. and say marathoners were dressed very lightly and unprepared for the icy weather, wearing only t-shirts and shorts. The thin clothing left stranded runners battling harsh conditions while awaiting rescue.

Authorities say some members of the search and rescue team are still on the mountain, but will be descending soon. For those planning to head out for hiking, running or climbing, officials are strongly advising to avoid the area, “Unless they’re very well-prepared for extreme weather conditions.”

The ages of the stranded runners were not released. Farmington Canyon Road was closed during the incident, but will reopen shortly after all emergency crews have cleared the area.

“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,” said Davis County Sheriff Kelly Sparks. “Even a mild rain in the valley can translate to blizzard conditions at higher elevations. 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. I extend my deep gratitude to everyone involved in this rescue effort.”

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