Alaska, Sports

Injured Woman Runner Recovering


July 10, 2012
12:46 am (Edit)

Updated by Admin 7/11/12


From Rory, her boyfriend

(Posted here from the comment section so everyone could read)

Penny (Assman, on left wearing gray) is a 34-year-old first-time racer from Salt Lake City, UT. She is a a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot and an avid mountain hiker.
Penny injuries include: Lacerated Liver, Internal Bleeding, Several Broken Ribs, MANY scrapes and bruises (right side), and gash on her forehead.
I am Penny’s boyfriend of four years; I witnessed the entire event and was fortunate to help load her on the spine board and carry her down the mountain. She was taken to Seward Hospital; Dr. Martinez, the staff, and Anchorage Volunteers (Orange Shirts!!) there did a fantastic job going to work on Penny. Due to the nature of the internal bleeding and the potential for her condition to deteriorate to a state that required surgery, they flew her to Providence Alaska Medical Center early morning on 5 July.
She and I spent five nights in the hospital. She spent the majority of her first three days sleeping; she was heavily medicated and on an ice chip only diet. By day four, she was allowed to eat a clear fluid diet, and she walked for the first time on Saturday, 7 July. From there she progressed steadily.
Penny and I were discharged just today (9 July), and she is slowly moving around with assistance. We are staying in the area as our doctor in Anchorage would like to see her once more before we fly home to Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
A few comments on the event:
All things leading up to this event were a sight to behold, and we felt very fortunate to be a part of it this year. Of course the accident was tough to stomach, but based on the speed with which Penny came down the cliffs, it could have been so much worse. We are still desperately seeking the name of a female EMT standing at the base of the Cliffs. She can be seen in photos preparing to break Penny’s fall. We truly believe she is the reason why Penny’s injuries were relatively non life-threatening. If anyone has information regarding the name of this individual, please comment on this post.
We were bummed to not see at least a DNF on the MMR website for Penny and witnessed no effort made by race organizers to check in on her condition post event. We called the Seward Chamber today to update them on her status, coordinate her timing chip turn-in, and also request to speak with someone regarding our eligibility for next year’s race (considering that Penny technically did not finish). As of current, we have not heard back from the Seward Chamber of Commerce and/or MMR event coordinators.
All that being said we already have our lodging arranged for next year and are hopeful we hear back from event organizers.




  1. This has been a tough year for racers. Glad to hear that your story has a happy ending! I hope you have a full recovery.

  2. I am so glad to see that Penny is going to be okay. My boyfriend watched this happen from the bottom of the cliffs while he was waiting to take a photo of me coming down. I was about five minutes behind Penny.

    We have been very concerned and searching all over the web for any information. Just wanted to let you know that there are people are out there thinking about her and wishing her a quick recovery. She has to be pretty tough if she is already thinking about competing next year.

    We hope to see you out there,

  3. The name of the female EMT at the bottom of the cliff is Autum Ludwig. She is a volunteer with the Bear Creek Fire Dept.

    I am so happy your girlfriend is recovering. I know there has been a lot of concern for all of the runners injured this year. My son lacerated his liver four years ago and I know it is a long, slow recovery. We are wishing you both the best. She is obviously an amazing person, as I think the last thing on my mind would be competing next year.

    As a Seward resident, I apologize for the Chamber/Marathon committees lack of response. In there defense, the towns focus has been getting Michael Lemaite home. I hope they contact you soon.

    Safe travels and speedy recovery,

  4. Thank you and so glad to hear your girlfriend is recovering- I ran the race after both accidents- we were on site when the young boy fell. It was tough having that in the back of my mind.

    Just so you know there have been alot of prayers and interest in how she was doing amidst all the focus on the missing man.

    I have been hoping to hear how she was doing and i look forward to seeing her at the starting line next year

    Take Care

  5. Rory,
    I’m a reporter at the Anchorage Daily News and would like to interview you or Penny about Penny’s injuries. Can you please call me at (907) 257-4334 or email
    Kyle Hopkins

  6. I am so glad to hear she is on the mend! I saw her fall and have also been searching the web for any updates, and continued hoping that no news was good news.

    Thank you for the update, we all appreciate it.

    Hoping for a full recovery!

  7. M. Joe Trujillo

    Penny, Rory,… Penny you are one tough CHICK, but we all knew that befor you left. Both of you hold hands, and get better so you can return home where you have many friends wanting to help…. Joe

  8. Look at the ADN reporter trying to get the scoop right off of SCN. Thats gangster. What are you gonna do about that Paul?

    Anyway, glad to hear some more promising news coming out now. Pennys got the right attitude and Seward will be cheering for her next year! Heres to a speedy recovery!

  9. Update:

    We have a great response from our post and have gained all the information that we requested (and then some). We had an emotional phone conversation with Autumn Ludwig this morning and thanked her and we are going to take her and her family out to dinner next year!

    We received call from Cindy Cook this morning, the Executive Director of the Seward Chamber and talked to her about Penny’s status and the possibility of getting her in next year (looks like we can with a waiver and a doctors note!) Cindy was very accommodating and listened intently to our story and observations of the event… all very positive stuff.

    A special thanks to Carol Griswold for taking the breath taking photos and sharing them with us to show the story of the event. FYI, she slid about 40 feet and gained tremendous speed before she went airborne about 10-15ft above and into Autumns body… again very very very lucky.

    I know there is video footage out there of this and it will eventually show up. As I was carrying Penny down from the mountain with the rest of the rescue crew I saw various “Go-Pro” cameras hidden in the trees/bush to catch the “Cliff-Carnage” I now call it.

    I want to again thank all people that have helped us through this difficult event.

    We will be back!

  10. So thankful that Penny is recovering well.. Praying for a speedy recovery.

  11. Can I post a photo here? I have a great one of Penny in the hospital wearing the “Survivor” shirt with a great story behind it.

  12. Rory-if you have any trouble posting a picture-email it to me at and I’ll get up on the board for you. Glad you two are doing well.


  13. Nice! Best wishes for a speedy recovery 🙂

  14. Praise God for surrounding Penny with caring and dedicated volunteers and hospital staff. Praise God for her health and recovery!

    Penny is such a beautiful strong amazing woman and I am so proud of the courage and determination she showed this week. She is a first class act!

  15. I am glad to hear she is doing well! I do know many people in Seward have been worried and concerned for her and looking for news! I think people may have even tried to make contact but due to the fact of health privacy no one at either hospital, emts and etc were allowed to release any info or talk to anyone. I think the only reason there is any info about the other injured runner is because his friends and family have kept the news informed so we appreciate you letting us all know how she is! The MMR is very important to all of us in Seward and we hate to see anyone injured or have a bad experience! Looking forward to seeing Penny run next year!

  16. Penny and Rory, thanks for updating so many of us who were concerned about you and didn’t know how to find out how you’re doing. I have a close up photo of Penny on the stretcher with the group carrying her just as you reached the fence where the crowd parted to let you through. Out of respect for your privacy I have not put it online. If you would like me to email it to you, please leave a message on my voicemail (907)491-0121 with your email address or indicate if you would permit it to be put on this site. Ed

  17. Thank you for filling us in. My neice saw her fall and I’ve been trying to find out information as we were all very worried about her. I’m so glad she is going home and will be okay. I hope to see her in next year’s Mt. Marathon Race.

  18. I am so thankful that Rory and Penny’s adventure has a positive ending! My heart goes out to the others folks who were injured and especially for the family and the man who is yet to be found. In reading the posts, sure do hear that Seward has a strong and caring community. Thank you for taking such good care of Rory and Penny.

    Rory and Penny, I look forward to picking you two at the airport tomorrow evening, pending Penny’s Dr. release. Safe journey home, Love, Mom

  19. So glad that you are doing well. You along with the others injured and missing racer have been in my prayers. I have been checking SCN for any news. Thank you for the update. I’m also from Salt Lake and was cheering you on at the sideline. Safe travels and a speedy recovery.


  20. So glad to read this story with a hopeful outcome. I so wish you a speedy recovery. I am also so glad to hear of your plans for next year. Truly a very strong woman. Thanks Rory for your updates. We all look forward to your return. Much blessings this year. To Autumn way to go. To all seward helpers, as I have stated before this is one of many reasons we love and live in seward.

  21. Penny, good luck and hope you have speedy recovery!

  22. No sympathy for self-inflicted wounds.

  23. I guess it’s fine to have no sympathy for the runners, but it takes a real jerk to have no respect.

    Penny, you’re going to have a quite the fan club looking for you next year. Good luck!