Kansas Ultramarathon Runner Struck by Lightning During Race, Dies Tragically

Martin Kuprianowicz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
The Stanley family mourns their loss.
The Stanley family mourns the loss of an esteemed husband and father of 3. Credit: Yahoo News Australia

A Kansas runner has died after being hit by lightning near the finish line of a 31 mile (50km) ultramarathon, BBC News says.

Thomas Stanley, 33, received first aid from runners and officials at the Elk City State Park race on Saturday, but died from his injuries, police say.

Ultramarathon runner struck by lightning
Thirty-three-year-old Thomas Stanley was struck by lightning on Saturday. Credit: Facebook/Ashley Stanley

Stanley is survived by his wife, Ashley, and three children. A fundraiser for the family has already raised over $45,000 since his tragic death.

His wife received the race medal on his behalf, local media reports.

Mrs Stanley wrote that she had “lost my best friend, father of our babies, and love” in a Facebook post. 

Ultramarathon race
Ultramarathons are 50km footraces that are subject to the elements. Credit: New Scientist

The Elk City park, where the race occurred, is located near Independence, Kansas, 115 miles (185km) from Wichita.

There were reports of strong to severe storms in the region ahead of the race.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports that 17 others have been killed by lightning across the US this year. 

Although the chances of getting hit by a lightning bolt are slim, you should always seek immediate shelter if caught in a thunderstorm and avoid flat, wide-open areas.

Ultramarathon race tragedy
Seek shelter during thunderstorms and avoid flat, open areas. Credit: BBC


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