Severe weather kills 21 ultramarathon runners

Severe weather kills 21 runners
Rescuers brought equipment to help in their search efforts. Source: STR/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
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Daily US Times: At least 21 ultramarathon runners have died after extreme weather struck a long-distance race in north-western China.

High winds and freezing rain hit participants in the 60-mile (100km) ultramarathon in the Yellow River Stone Forest, a tourist site in Gansu province, on Saturday.

The marathon was halted when some of the 172 runners went missing, and a rescue operation was launched.

Many of the stranded long race runners reportedly suffered from hypothermia.

Authorities habe said 151 runners were now confirmed safe, and that eight of them were injured.

The race began at 9:00 local time on Saturday, with some of the competitors setting off wearing just shorts and T-shirts.

Surviving participants said the rain was anticipated and forecast had shown some wind, but nothing as extreme as what they experienced.

According to officials from the nearby Baiyin city, about three hours after the start of the race, a mountainous section of the race was hit by hail, heavy rain and gales, which caused temperatures to plummet.

One runner, Mao Shuzhi, told Reuters that she turned around when the weather changed.

Ms Mao, who was about 24km into the race at the time and had not yet reached the mountains, said: “The rain was getting heavier and heavier.”

She decided to head back to her hotel, as she had previous bad experiences with hypothermia, but others carried on or were already in worst-hit areas.

Many runners lost their way on the route as the weather affected visibility, according to local media report.

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