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Runner found alive in snow after 2 days

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POSTED April 1, 2014 6:16 p.m.

AUBURN (AP) — A runner was found alive on Tuesday in snowy conditions, two days after he went missing near a trail in a mountainous region of Northern California, authorities said.

Robert Root, 55, of Modesto was wearing only a light running shirt, shorts and running shoes when he was discovered by rescuers on Western States trail, Placer County sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.

Root was talking with rescuers, but his condition was not immediately known, authorities said.

“It’s just amazing. He was found alive, alert and talking,” Erwin said. “Just amazing.”

The news of Root’s discovery spread quickly back in Modesto, said Heidi Ryan, who belongs to the same running club as Root.

“I feel like I’m still a little numb, but that’s just me,” Ryan, 54, said. “I’m still processing it.”

Root was last seen Sunday morning before becoming separated from fellow members of the ShadowChase Running Club along the trail near Foresthill.

The group was training for the annual Western States Endurance run in June. Root was not going to participate in the race, Ryan said.

The runners out on Sunday were split into fast and slow groups. Root was initially running with the slower group.

When his group briefly stopped, Root decided to run ahead and join the faster group, Erwin said.

The search began on Sunday but was suspended due to darkness and falling temperatures.

More than 60 searchers resumed on Monday using motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, search dogs and two helicopters. Five members of the Tahoe Nordic Search Team spent the night looking for Root after snow began to fall earlier in the day.

“We were always hopeful we could find him, even when the snow came,” Erwin said.

Ryan believes Root’s training helped him survive.

“He has great endurance and that obviously helped him,” Ryan said. “I can’t wait to hear what caused him to get off trail, but I’m so relieved that he’s alive.

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