Nature

Lightning kills runner during Greek mountain race; hurt another


THESSALONIKI, Greece — Lightning struck during a night run on a Greek mountain on Sunday, killing one runner and seriously injuring another, Greek police and firefighters reported.

The pair were running in the Six Peaks race, which traverses the six highest peaks of Mount Falakro in northern Greece, when lightning struck a group of runners at 4 a.m. at an altitude of 1,340 meters (4 400 feet), said a police officer. The Associated Press.

Two fire rescue teams traveled up the mountain from the nearby town of Drama to find a 55-year-old runner already dead and a 56-year-old seriously injured. The injured runner was airlifted to a Kavala city hospital, where authorities said he was in serious condition. Neither has been identified.

The 35.7-kilometre (22.2-mile) race started at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the village of Pyrgoi, 630 meters (2,066 ft) up the slopes of the 2,232-metre (7,323 ft) mountain. The six highest Falakro peaks in Greece are all over 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) high; the mountain stretches as far as Bulgaria.

The weather was fine at the start of the race, but overnight heavy rain developed and the track became muddy. By the time the lightning struck, several of the 55 participating runners had reached the finish line in a mountain hut at the top of the Falakro ski resort. Runners had 12 hours to complete the race.

The race is one of five, and the second shortest, organized since 2018 by the Nevrokopi Hiking and Mountaineering Club, located in nearby Kato Nevrokopi under the collective name Frozen Peaks. The three longest runs – 269, 103 and 46 kilometers (167, 64 and 28.6 miles) – were certified by the International Trail Running Association, based in Switzerland.

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Nellas reported from Athens, Greece

ABC News

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