Two die in running event on Germany's Zugspitze

15th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Running event hit by tragedy as two die in extreme weather

Berlin -- Two runners have died during a mountain running event on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, police in the region along the Austrian border reported on Monday.

The man and woman, both Germans and aged 45 and 41, died after extreme weather descended as they were running near the peak of the mountain, which rises to 2,962 metres above sea level.

Six other runners were taken to hospital in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the well-known Alpine sports resort that hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics.

Several hundred runners participated in the annual event, run over 16.1 kilometres and at altitudes varying by more than 2,000 metres over the course.

The runners started out in Ehrwald in Austria at 9.00 am local time wearing only light running gear. They encountered increasingly cold conditions as they ascended, and rain turned to snow.

"Everything turned white within a few minutes," a member of the local mountain watch said.

The work of rescue helicopters was hampered by low visibility.

The race organisers had warned of possible snow showers ahead of the race, but contestants appear to have seen this merely as an additional challenge.


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