A Norwegian woman, 44, competing in an ultramarathon in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains was struck by lightning on Saturday while running at an altitude of 2,120m. She later died of her injuries.
The organisers of the Sudtirol Ultra Skyrace said a “tragic accident casts a shadow on” the race, in a Facebook post.
The race had been paused for 30 minutes before the strike due to the weather.
Runners were held at checkpoints, but some participants, including the Norwegian, were already between checkpoints when the decision was made to halt competitors’ progress.
The incident happened around 7.15pm near Lago di San Pancrazio. Other runners called the rescue services and the victim was flown to hospital in nearby Bolzano, but later died of her injuries.
The Sudtirol Ultra Skyrace is in its seventh year, and has four distances – 121km, 69km, 42.2km and 27km.
“We are shocked and deeply shaken by this tragic accident,” commented Josef Gunther Mair, chair of the Organising Committee of the Sudtirol Ultra Skyrace. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the athlete.”
The event’s award ceremony was cancelled.
A heatwave in Italy last week was followed by freak storms and flash floods.
Two others were killed over the weekend. A woman, 26, died near Rome’s Fiumicino Airport after a mini-tornado lifted her car onto railings.
In Tuscany a man, 70, was killed when his car was caught in a flash flood. He was later found in a mud-filled canal.