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Black bear kills teen runner during trail race

A 16-year-old ultra runner in an Alaskan mountain race was killed by a black bear he apparently encountered while descending the trail Sunday, Alaska State Troopers and the race director said. The victim was identified by troopers as Patrick Cooper of Anchorage.

A Chugach State Park ranger shot the bear in the face, but it ran away. Rangers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were still looking for the animal Sunday night on the slope overlooking Turnagain Arm southeast of Anchorage.

Cooper was a participant in the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb, said race director Brad Precosky. The close-knit Alaska mountain running community is in shock at the fatal mauling, he said. The popular mountain race is in its 29th year. The steep course takes adult runners up Bird Ridge, a familiar mountain that looms over the Seward Highway at about Mile 100.


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