Imagine if long-distance runner Adam Campbell didn’t get struck by lightning! The 35-year-old Canadian lawyer probably would’ve won the Hardrock 100 trail running race in Silverton, Colo. Instead, Campbell had to settle for third. Or actually, who knows? Maybe that jolt of electricity to the head saved him from coming in last in the 100.5-mile race. Either way, this story is pretty crazy. Competitor magazine writes:
A thunderstorm began raging in the early evening on Friday just after some the race’s top runners were passing through the 60-mile aid station near the historic mining settlement ghost town of Animas Forks in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains. Campbell, 35, and his pacer, Aaron Heidt, left the aid station ahead of the rain, but were caught in it as they approached the highest point on the course, 14,058-foot Handies Peak. They had debated whether to go over the peak moments before when a sheet of lightning hit the mountain. But they were already amid exposed terrain and decided to make a run for it. Another sheet of lightning struck just as they reached the top.
Campbell and Heidt said they immediately hit the ground when the lightning struck, screamed a few profanities, realized they were OK and ran as fast as they could off the peak. Campbell, running Hardrock for the first time, said the lightning blast fried his headlamp. Heidt said he felt a twinge of electricity hit the back of his head, but otherwise the two survived unscathed.
“The funny thing is that he didn’t speak French before the lightning struck,” Heidt joked to Competitor about Campbell.
The race took Campbell just less than 26 hours to complete.
The race’s winner, 26-year-old Kilan Jornet of Spain, set a new course record, finishing in 22 hours 41 minutes 35 seconds.
“The record is a thing you think about during the race,” Jornet told the Denver Post. “But I was mostly thinking about finishing the race. It’s difficult to finish a 100-mile race always.”
And also not get struck by lightning.