Videos: Ultrarunner Adam Campbell on being struck by lightning in race and finishing third
Canada's Adam Campbell is an elite ultrarunner who decided to challenge himself by competing in the Silverton area's Hardrock 100, an incredibly difficult one-hundred-mile course featuring "33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet and an average elevation of 11,186 feet," according to the event's website.
Campbell finished third in the race. That's an impressive accomplishment under any circumstances, but especially so in his case -- since he was struck by lightning during his run.
When tweeting about the race in its aftermath, Campbell didn't even mention the getting-struck-by-lightning part of the story. Instead, he offered observations like this one:
Race briefing takeaway - "If you see a river, run through it, if you see a hill, go up it" #Hardrock100
— adam campbell (@campbelladam79) July 11, 2014
Denver Outlaws / Major League Lacrosse All Star Game
TicketsSat., Dec. 29, 6:00pm
Nonetheless, news got around quickly about what happened thanks in part to an interview with Trail Runner Nation on view below.
Campbell tells TRN that he and a companion, crew member Aaron Heidt, were swept up in a sudden summer storm. Upon seeing lightning strike a nearby summit, he remembered thinking, "This is not good." With strikes about five minutes apart, the pair "tried to book it across the summit," he continued. But then another bolt arrived, with Campbell and Heidt falling to the ground. "My headlight blew up," he notes. "There's a battery pack on the back and the battery pack exploded."
Most of us would have responded to such an incident by deciding to call it quits for the day. But not Campbell. "After some serious profanity...we both agreed that we had to get out of there as quickly as possible," he told Trail Runner Nation. Thanks to assistance from Heidt's still functioning headlight, the two of them were able to find their way out of the strike zone.
These moments were "absolutely terrifying -- really, really scary," Campbell condeded. But somehow, he managed to keep going and was able to place in the money.
This achievement quickly gained attention in the ultrarunning press, as Campbell pointed out in this tweet....
— adam campbell (@campbelladam79) July 15, 2014
Since then, the news has migrated to sports sites such as Deadspin and mainstream outlets like CBS4. The results represent a literally shocking turn of events for a man whose toughness and resolve will never be questioned again.
Look below to see the aforementioned Trail Runner Nation clip, supplemented by another post-race interview with an astonishingly unfazed Campbell.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.