Utah runner killed in Las Vegas relay race

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah man died while taking part in a popular relay race in Las Vegas over the weekend. He was hit by a suspected drunk driver while he was supporting a fellow teammate in a Ragnar relay race.

The Las Vegas race is a 24-hour relay race where teams of 12 take turns running. The teams were supposed to run 180 miles from Valley of Fire State Park to the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, but one team didn't make it to the finish line because their teammate, 33-year-old Jeremy Kunz, was hit and killed.

The [Ragnar Relay Series](http://www.ragnarrelay.com/) is the nation's largest series of long distance relay races. The races are run in teams of 12 and are of distances close to 200 miles. During the relay, each team member runs three legs, each leg ranging between 3 - 8 miles and varying in difficulty. Each team is responsible for providing two support vehicles, which moves the runners between exchange points in a leapfrogging pattern. The series consists of 11 races across the country including Utah's Wasatch Back, a 170-mile race from Logan to Park City.
On Saturday morning, Kunz was providing support for a teammate when a driver lost control of his car, swerved onto the shoulder and hit him. KSL News talked with another runner, Jon Hyde, who was close behind when Kunz was hit.

"We rolled up the hill and there was a lot of dust, and you could just kind of sense something was wrong," Hyde said. "Then we stopped the car and realized what had happened, and it was a tough situation."

Hyde has run several other Ragnar Relays, including the Wasatch Back, but he said his team just couldn't finish the Vegas relay.

"After that had happened, our thoughts were elsewhere; and we just, we loaded up and got back to our families," Hyde said.

On Facebook Monday, many other Ragnar runners are offering their condolences. One team wrote: "We are praying for Jeremy and his family. We were right behind the accident. Our hearts break for you!"

**Who is Ragnar?**
Ragnar Lodbrok was a 9th century Norse King. He was a great Viking commander, a pirate, a raider, a conqueror and an explorer who raided France numerous times seeking riches. He was king of Denmark and Sweden. He was captured and killed during an invasion in England. King Ella had Ragnar thrown into a pit of poisonous snakes. His son, Ivor the Boneless avenged his death the following year.
Another team wrote: "We were shocked when we heard the news and hope that the runner's family will be able to be comforted at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family." Several runners and rescue teams tried to resuscitate Kunz but were unable to.

Police caught the driver, Joshua Salayich of Henderson, and arrested him. He is charged with driving under the influence resulting in death, as well as leaving the scene of an accident.


Story compiled with contributions from Amanda Butterfield and KSL News producer Mindy Dunyon

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