Bear Temporarily Halts Leadville Trail Marathon to Cross the Road

Runners were excited to see Olympian Kara Goucher. The bear? Not so much.

From Runner’s World
By Andrew Dawson

Photo by Quentin Genke
  • Colorado Springs runner Pete Peterson and his friend Quentin Genke were between miles 12 and 13 at the Leadville Trail Marathon when a bear crossed in front of them, temporarily halting the race.
  • The runners stayed calm, and were able to resume their race within 20 seconds after the bear safely made its way to the other side.

Colorado Springs runner Pete Peterson has had some luck with animal encounters in the past year and a half, seeing both a mountain lion and a bear on the trails in two separate instances.

This weekend, his streak continued at the Leadville Trail Marathon when he once again crossed paths with a bear.

Peterson had started the day with his friend, Quentin Genke, also of Colorado Springs, with a Leadville prerace, carb-loaded breakfast tradition they started a year before: a Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) and a cinnamon roll.

“Typically we get a PBR after the race or training runs, but it’s Leadville,” Genke told Runner’s World. “It’s already a race on a mountain at high elevation, so it’s a crazy event to begin with. This just adds to the insanity of the day.”

Little did he know, the most incredible part of the day was still to come.

Both runners were using the race as a training run for other mountain and trail races later in the year, so the mood was relaxed as they set off. For the first half, they were cruising. They had a solid pack of runners with them between mile 12 and 13 when Genke glanced to his right where he saw a bear running along the course.

“I don’t think (the bear) was interested in running the race,” Genke said. “So I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone quick and yelled, ‘Bear!’”

This section of the race took place on a service road where cars were active even during the race. So runners had been hearing people yelling about cars coming, and were used to moving to the side of the road to let them pass.

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