Runner Dies After Being Struck By Lightning At 50k Race Finish Line
An endurance runner was killed when he was struck by lightning just a quarter of a mile from the finish line of a 50k race, officials confirmed.
Thomas Stanley, 33, was running the FlatRock 50k race at Elk City Park in Kansas on Saturday when a storm broke out.
According to an Eyewitness News report, witnesses say runners and officials raced over to Stanley and tried their best to revive him but were unable to save the 33-year-old.
Event organisers issued a statement which read:
Thomas’ family says that the chances of being killed by a lightning strike are about one in a million, and Thomas was truly a one-in-a-million guy.
He is survived by his wife and three children, fortunately none of whom were at the race on the day he passed away.
His wife, Ashley, spoke with Eyewitness News, telling them it has been incredibly difficult to explain to their children, particularly their six-year-old daughter.
It’s been hard to hear from her. She’s already drawing conclusions very quickly. She has already said, ‘If daddy didn’t do the race, he would still be here, right?’ I said, ‘yes.’
She said, ‘I wish daddy didn’t do that race,’ and I said, ‘me too.’
Ashley wrote on Facebook that Thomas was ‘the most amazing man’ and her ‘best friend’. She said, ‘my head hurts and I feel sick to my stomach.’
Although Thomas didn’t quite cross the finish line, organisers considered him a finisher and presented his fisher’s award to his wife, according to race director Carolyn Robinson.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family has already raised more than $71,000 for the family, to pay for Thomas’ funeral and other unexpected expenses.
The description on the page reads:
Thomas Stanley tragically passed away when he was struck by lightning while running a race. The last thing Ashley should be thinking about right now is money; let’s bless her and their children as they move forward.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.