Runner missing several days found alive
An All-American cross country runner from the University of Alaska Anchorage who disappeared over the weekend just as two snowstorms moved into the city was found alive early Wednesday with severe hypothermia and frostbite.
Marko Cheseto, 28, disappeared a day after the university cross country team’s triumphant return to Anchorage after the NCAA Division II West Region championships in Spokane, Wash., where the Seawolves won every championship up for grabs.
He was last seen at the university’s social sciences building shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday, and his roommates reported him missing Monday morning. Authorities looked for signs of him on every major trail in Anchorage, and divers were preparing to search lakes around the campus on Wednesday when he walked into a hotel near campus at about 3:30 a.m.
“As soon as I opened the door the first thing he said was ‘911,’” hotel employee Glen Graham told KTUU Ch. 2. “That was pretty much all he could say.”
He said Cheseto wasn’t wearing gloves or a hat and that his jeans were covered in ice. Graham said Cheseto’s sneakers were frozen to his feet.
Cheseto, a long-distance runner from Kenya working toward a nursing degree, was taken to a hospital, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Steve Cobb, UAA’s athletic director, told The Associated Press that Cheseto is being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center for severe frostbite on both feet. He said officials were waiting to interview Cheseto to find out what happened to him. He said he expected Cheseto would remain hospitalized for about 10 days.
Cobb also said he didn’t know if his injuries would prevent him from running competitively again.
“We are just thankful he was found and getting treatment,” Cobb said.
Cheseto used his final season of cross country eligibility a year ago, but had one season of track eligibility left after taking last season off following the suicide of teammate and fellow Kenyan, William Ritekwiang.
Cheseto was the winner of the West Region the two previous seasons. He made last week’s trip to Spokane as team manager.