Kenyan Track Star Loses Feet to Frostbite in Alaska

Two-time All-American wanders two days in brutal snowstorm

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Nov 22, 2011  |  Updated 6:08 AM CDT
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Kenyan Track Star Loses Feet to Frostbite in Alaska

Marko Cheseto hopes to run again, despite having lost both feet.

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A Kenyan runner who went to college in Alaska and was a six-time All-American had both feet amputated above the ankles after disappearing for two days in a brutal snowstorm.

Mark Cheseto, 28, who won the NCAA Division II West Region cross-country championships in 2009 and 2010 competing for University of Alaska Anchorage, went missing Nov. 6 due to some sort of personal crisis, according to the Anchorage Daily News. He was weaing just jeans, running shoes and a light jacket, and it snowed more than a foot during his absence. His disappearance touched off a massive search, and he was found two days later, near the university. Paramedics were unable to remove Cheseto's shoes because they were frozen to his feet, according to witesses.

Cheseto, a nursing major on track to graduate next year, was hospitalized with hypothermia and severe frostbite at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

"As some may know, I've been going through a lot of personal issues," Cheseto said in a prepared statement. "While I am still recovering -- both physically and emotionally -- I will do my very best to give back to the community that has helped me so much and to my home country, Kenya. I sincerely apologize for any problems that I might have caused."

Cheseto is one of several Kenyans on UAA cross country and track teams. According to the Daily News, he sat out last spring's track season after teammated and countryman William Ritekwiang committed suicide.

Cheseto is a six-time NCAA Division II All-American -- four times for track and twice for cross country.

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