Marathon runners in Alaska face some unique challenges

ANCHORAGE _ The series of unfortunate incidents that foiled Eric Strabel's dream race in the annual Crow Pass Crossing wilderness marathon Saturday began with the bear that surprised him on the trail and stopped him for maybe 30 seconds.

Then came the wrong turn that took him off the course of the marathon-length wilderness run that began in 1984.

Soon after that was the moose and calf that wouldn't budge and forced Strabel to bushwhack to get around them.

Then came the hard tumble onto rocks that left him with a bloody ear, a bloody shin and bloody hands.

Quicker than you can say Lemony Snicket, Strabel's shot at both victory and a race record was toast.

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