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Runner in Yukon ultra-marathon may lose hands, feet to frostbite

Runner in Yukon ultra-marathon may lose hands, feet to frostbite
From CBC - February 15, 2018

An Italian athlete who took part in an extreme outdoor marathon in Yukonis getting treatmentfor severe frostbite and may lose his hands and feetbut he says he does not regret running the race.

Roberto Zanda was rescued last week by helicopter in central Yukon halfway through the gruelling 480-kilometre Yukon Arctic Ultra race. Athletes in the annual race compete by mountain bike, cross-country ski or foot. This year they could also choose to trek across the bitterly cold wilderness for 160 or 480 kilometres.

Zandawas travelling by foot and was about six days into the nine-day marathon when he started to feel the early effects of hypothermia.

During a routine morning check on Feb. 7, Yukon Ultra guides came across the sled Zanda was pulling, but he was nowhere to be seen.

Rescuers found him later that day, and hewas taken by helicopter to Whitehorse General Hospital. He will remain there until arrangements are made to transfer him home to an Italian hospital.

The temperatures during the marathon were in the 30s and 40s. Zanda told CBCNews through a translator that he wandered off to find help because his feet were starting to freeze up. He left behind the sledwith all his gear and a GPStracking device.

He now says he believes hypothermia was kicking in. People experiencing hypothermia often are not aware of their condition because symptoms can begin gradually. They can also become confused and exhibit unusual behaviour.

Zanda said he wandered for about a kilometre in deep snow, with no shoesfor 18 hours. He said his hands were incredibly cold; he had taken off hisglovesand saw his hands were yellow.

An MRI revealed he has almost no circulation in his feet, Zanda said.

He said it will take several months to know if the circulation will return, but he hopes not all his limbs will need amputation.

Worst incident in race's history

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