ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It’s not the finish the Martin family expected as they eagerly awaited 52-year-old Ronna Martin to complete her fourth Mount Marathon. The Kenai runner ended up hospitalized with skull, brain and ankle injuries after a bad fall at the base of the mountain during this year's race.
52-year-old Ronna Martin described as an avid outdoors woman by family members, suffered serious injuries during the 2019 Mount Marathon. (Courtesy: Martin Media)
“I was cheering my mom on as she was climbing up halfway,” said Josiah Martin.
Ronna Martin's son, Josiah, and husband Blair watched Martin ascend 3,022 feet to Mount Marathon’s peak.
“I expected her to be in any minute,” said Blair Martin. “Ronna's going to be here any minute, and then my phone rang.”
That phone call let Blair know his wife had taken a bad fall. Josiah was close to the falls where his mother fell, and walked over when he saw everyone gathered around a fallen runner.
“I looked at her sports bra and her black shorts and I was like Oh my gosh, that's my mom!” said Josiah.
Ronna told her family that she had vague memories going through her natural routine before reaching the falls, and then that memory fades.
Her fall resulted in serious injuries.
First she was taken to Seward Hospital before being flown to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, where she was treated for brain, skull, and ankle injuries. The main concern was around the swelling in her brain, which was closely monitored before Ronna Martin was able to go home Sunday.
Legal action has been taken against the race in the past, but the Martin family says they will not go after the race organizer, the Seward Chamber of Commerce. The Martins have a strong relationship with the race, and have been a part of the Independence Day tradition since the 1980s.
“You do something exciting, fun, in Alaska. It might have certain danger factor to it and kind of like riding a motorcycle, it's not a matter of if you lay it down, it's when,” said Blair Martin about the race.
Right now the family is focused on is on Ronna’s recovery after she was released from the hospital on Sunday. They said for the next two weeks she’ll have to stay away from light, and stay off her ankle for another six weeks on top of that.
A GoFundMe page has already raised over $2,000 for Ronna Martin's medical bills.
The Seward Chamber of Commerce released this statement regarding Martin’s injury.
"We wish Ronna Martin a full recovery from the injuries she sustained while participating in the Mount Marathon Race on July 4. We're especially grateful to the first responders and race volunteers who provided timely and compassionate care immediately following her accident. On behalf of our mountain running community, we're sending healing thoughts to Ronna."
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