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Question: Has there ever been a sign of the Mount Marathon runner who went missing during the run several years ago?
On July 4, 2012, an Anchorage man named Michael LeMaitre went missing while competing in the Mount Marathon, Seward’s grueling running race that typically takes place on July 4 of each year.
LeMaitre was running the Mount Marathon for the first time. The weather was particularly rainy, foggy and slippery that day.
The 66-year-old businessman and grandfather was last seen about three hours after the start of the race, climbing just before the race’s turning point to an elevation of around 3,000 feet.
LeMaître never came down. A thorough search did not yield anything.
“No clue. No trace. No lead,” said a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers at the time.
LeMaitre’s story garnered media attention, becoming one of the best known in a grimly long list of Alaskans who vanished into wild landscapes without a trace. His disappearance was particularly striking as he had participated in an event that each year draws tens of thousands of spectators to Seward and hundreds of runners to the mountain itself.
“The mountain swallowed this man,” a relative told Runner’s World reporter Christopher Solomon for a detailed report on the case in 2016.
After the soldiers stopped their search, the family continued. LeMaitre was declared legally dead in October 2012 after legal proceedings known as the presumed death trial.
His wife sued the Seward Race and Chamber of Commerce for $ 5 million, alleging neglect and emotional distress. In 2014, the Seward Chamber of Commerce settled a payment of $ 25,000 with the family. Appeals to her for this story have gone unanswered.
The disappearance of LeMaitre has changed the way the race works. New rules have been instituted, including one that states that runners must now sign a pledge stating that they have completed the race course of approximately 3 miles at least once before race day. Participants who do not reach the mountain top turning point within an hour are disqualified, and the sweepers now follow the last runner to the top of the mountain and back down, race director Matias Saari said.
Although declared legally dead for about nine years, LeMaitre is still considered a missing person by the soldiers of the State of Alaska. Being declared dead by the justice system doesn’t remove someone from the state’s missing persons clearinghouse, said Austin McDaniel, a spokesperson for the soldiers.
“Law enforcement needs to watch him alive and well,” McDaniel said. “Or remains must be found.”
A partial human jaw was found near Tonsina Point, a few miles into the mountains, in 2014. Despite speculation that the remains belonged to LeMaitre, DNA tests revealed that they belonged instead to a 39-year-old man whose the last address was in Arkansas. the soldiers said. Other remains associated with the man were found in the same area in 1997, soldiers said.
No sign of LeMaître was found. There is no active research for him currently, McDaniel said.
“If new clues or evidence are found, soldiers will assess the new search efforts,” he said.