One of the thrills of being in Alaska’s untamed wilderness areas also represent an equal amount of danger, even in the close vicinity to the state’s largest city. Near Anchorage, a 16-year-old boy competing in a trail race was killed during an attack by a black bear.
Alaska State Troopers have identified the victim of Sunday’s bear mauling at Bird Ridge as 16-year-old Patrick Cooper of Anchorage.
Dozens of runners, including the teen, toed the starting line that morning for the mountain race that begins at the start of Bird Creek Trail, and meanders through heavily wooded terrain. As for the ascent, that’s a 3,400-foot vertical climb that spans three miles for adult racers and half that for juniors, those who are 17 and younger taking on the mountain.
Challenging terrain, but in those three decades, many said the territory had never proven to be a big problem.
That all changed shortly after noon Sunday.
“I’ve been running in the mountains for 30 years,” said Brad Precosky, a director of the race. “People come down off the trail and say they’ve run into a bear. Sometimes that means nothing; other times, it’s really serious. Like this.”
Such a tragedy; condolences to the young man’s loved ones.
Update: There’s been another fatal bear attack in the state: