Lost in the Shuffle: Fla. Half-Marathon Runner Goes Missing for 12 Hours | NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Lost in the Shuffle: Fla. Half-Marathon Runner Goes Missing for 12 Hours

Melissa Kitcher ended up six to seven miles off course — with no phone

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A woman was missing for 12 hours after she got lost while running a half-marathon in Sarasota County. Ben Robick reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016)

    Melissa Kitcher had full intentions of completing her first half-marathon Sunday, but it's safe to say she pictured it ending a little bit differently.

    Kitcher went missing for nearly 12 hours after running off the trail during the Trail Hog Half-Marathon at the Carlton Reserve near Venice in Sarasota County, Florida.

    "I kept thinking to myself, 'Wow, how do people run these trails? I can't even walk them,'" she said. "When I hit the power lines I said, 'Yes I'm definitely way off course. I'm lost.'"

    But how did she manage to get lost?

    Courtesy 4 Deserts Race Series / Gobi March / Onni Cao

    Kitcher said there was no marking to indicate or properly direct her. “The website says you're supposed to be on Jeep trails. So when I came out there was a Jeep trail and I figured that was the path I needed to be on," Kitcher explained.

    The runner ended up six to seven miles off course with no phone — it inconveniently froze up two minutes before the start of the race, she said.

    Race director Thierry Rouillard had this to say about the situation: "It's the worst nightmare for a race director. I love what I do and want everyone to be happy. That was her first half-marathon. That was her first trail run. She learned the hard way.”

    Kitcher ended running over 16 miles before the park’s department located her in the reserve about 7:30 p.m.

    She was uninjured. Thirsty, of course, but just happy she could go home.

    “She was happy when we found her. I'm going to send her a gift package with racing stuff. A finisher's medal and award for the longest Trail Hog half-marathon in the history of the event," Rouillard joked.

    Brutal Attack in French Quarter Caught on Camera

    [DFW] Brutal Attack in French Quarter Caught on Camera

    A man walking in the French Quarter early Saturday morning was brutally attacked from behind. Saturday morning's attack comes less than 24 hours before a similar attack where two men were hit in the head from behind. Police say they don't know if the two crimes are connected, but the incidents have business owners and tourists in the French Quarter on edge.

    (Published Tuesday, June 27, 2017)

    Despite going a little off course, Kitcher already has sights set on redemption.

    "There's the Sarasota Half Marathon on March 19th. I already have that in my head," she said. "Everybody keeps telling me no more races, I said I'm lucky this one's on the street."