The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Robert Reisner
Clear Creek 

What happened on the mountain?



The comments stated in this article are the opinion of Robert Reisner and do not represent the Seward/Bear Creek Flood Service Area board.

Greetings my fellow citizens.

Most recently our Seward Phoenix LOG newspaper published an article on the LeMaitre versus Seward Chamber of Commerce lawsuit. I propose to expand a little on the search, Mr. LeMaitre’s background and a little common sense.

It is most unfortunate that Michael LeMaitre did not return from the July 4, 2012 Mount Marathon Race. But then, who thought he wouldn’t return? But then again, what if the race officials barred Mr. LeMaitre from running the race? Well, he could have sued over a violation of his civil liberties, or created such a negative media stir that it could have damaged the reputation of the race and our city.

Since 1915 the race has been run most years and, yes, we do have the scrapes, bruises, broken bones and even a little worse, but no one ever failed to return, if not to the finish line at least to an official aid station.

An extensive search with Alaska State Troopers with cadaver dogs uncovered not a clue. The LeMaitre family and friends, and local volunteers continued through the 2012 summer. Even your humble correspondent was up there and between all off this, with every square inch of that mountain being inspected – the face, the chute, the ridge facing Mount Benson and the back of the mountain – nothing of Michael was ever found. Now our Mount Marathon may be a bit of a challenge, but it is not the Bermuda Triangle.

Mr. Michael LeMaitre did have a military background and it is possible to leave the mountain without being noticed.

Did he remove his headband and pocket it, make it down, mix into the crowd or get into a vehicle and head out to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and leave?

Given his military record, one would think that he could have planned this. Many of our local veterans will attest, if you’re in the military long enough you wouldn’t do anything without a plan.

Mr. Michael LeMaitre chose to enter that race, not the race officials or the Seward Chamber of Commerce. All runners are aware that they run the race on their own accord. This is the time-honored practice.

Has Peggy LeMaitre, in her grief considered hiring a top-notch private investigator to track her husband down, ‘cause he and his carcass are not here.

Now, I did not know Michael LeMaitre or know his wife and children, so I cannot speak of their veracity, but this whole thing stinks of a put up job.

My deepest sympathy goes out to Mrs. Peggy LeMaitre and her family over the loss of her husband, their father, for whom they depended on. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions and decisions, not race officials or organizers with such a fine history of accountability and good sportsmanship.

(Editor's note: The LOG published this story on the LeMaitre disappearance in our Feb. 27, 2014 edition)


Reader Comments
1 — 5 of 8

LoveAlaska writes:

I have seen photos of the turn-around point. This was Mr LeMaitre's first race so he was unfamiliar with the terrain. In the photo, I could plainly see a trail continuing UP beyond that point. A mistake I can see a newbie making - not realizing they are NOT going to the mountain summit (another 2 miles and 1,800' higher!). The area around the perimeter of the race point turn-around should have been roped off so there was NO mistaking where the 'end' was for participants -newbie or long timer.

creamrich writes:

Is it that hard to admit the race director messed up? Why would Tom Walsh already be descending down before LeMaitre got to the top? Why would you let runners with unchecked ambition climb up a mountain alone and un-monitored for more than an hour? And actually a race director is responsible for the runners of the race, to account for every competitor and make sure they don't wander off the course. All Mr. Walsh had to do was wait for Michael to make the turn like he did every other racer.

FunnyFace writes:

Just wait til they check his medical records. He told folks that he works with 2 days before that he had no idea how he was going to make it up the mountain...that he would have to follow a red shirt, pink shirt, green shirt. Like I said, when they check his medical records, it will be all over. NARCISSISM must run in the family

RealityBites writes:

So let me get this straight. A guy enters a mountain race. Ostensibly he knows up from down. He goes up..and vanishes? And this is somehow Sewards fault? Can Seward counter sue the family for the time and resources used to search for a guy who doesn't wanna be found? It's a scam. The family had a celebration of life ceremony less than 2 weeks after this guy split? Bullfeces. He's on a beach somewhere with his mistress, chuckling up a storm, and his, um 'widow' now wants to be paid? Shysters.

SueSeward writes:

Sure racers assume liability while racing in an event. But the race organizers are responsible for showing the racers where the event is to take place. This was clearly not done. No one was at the top of Race Point to show LeMaitre where to turn around. Up in the clouds he likely kept following the well defined trail that leads further up the ridge, until he got hypothermic and perished. This was due to careless and negligent race management. Sue Seward!


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