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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Kara Goucher’s Leadville Trail Marathon Debut

Kara Goucher Calls Leadville Debut ‘Hardest Thing I Ever Accomplished’

From Runner’s World
By Taylor Dutch

Photo by Matt Trappe

Bouts of vomiting from altitude sickness made the Olympian consider dropping out, but she pushed through for a fifth-place finish.

  • Kara Goucher made her trail race debut on June 15 at the Leadville Trail Marathon in Leadville, Colorado.
  • The two-time Olympian finished fifth in the women’s division, crossing the finish line in 3:54. Tara Richardson won the women’s race in 3:22.
  • Goucher credits the crowd and her competitors for helping her fight through bouts of altitude sickness during the notoriously difficult course.

Even with decades of experience running at the highest levels in the sport, Kara Goucher is still pushing her limits. Goucher made her trail racing debut on Saturday at the Leadville Trail Marathon, where the two-time Olympian said she experienced the most difficult competition of her career.

With bouts of altitude sickness, Goucher, 40, ran through some extremely tough moments in Leadville, Colorado. But with encouragement from supporters along the course, the marathoner fought through the challenges to finish fifth and win her age group.

Goucher completed the marathon in 3:54 for an average pace of 8:56 per mile. Race winner Tara Richardson, 27, covered the course in 3:22:39. In the men’s race, Joshua Lund, 30 of Boulder, won the event in 3:03.

“I’ve never been so low and continued on, so I guess I found out that I’m tougher than I thought,” Goucher told Runner’s World. “I think of myself as a pretty tough person, but I’ve never been in such a pain cave as I was yesterday. I mean, I was in such a dark place that I’ve never experienced before.”

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Kara Goucher Shares Why She’s Leaving Roads for the Leadville Trail Marathon

From Runner’s World
By Lisa Jhung

Photo by Billy Yang/Lifetime Fitness

The two-time Olympian will make the high-altitude event her trail running race debut.

All I had going for me in my attempt to keep up with Kara Goucher were the rocks. The two-time Olympian and 2:24:52 marathoner is relatively new to trail running, and on our car ride over to a trailhead in Boulder, Colorado’s, Chautauqua Park, she claimed to be “terrible at it.” And so, to abate my own fears of being dropped by the pro—even on a casual run—I chose a particularly rocky and technical route.

The purpose of our jaunt was to chat about Goucher’s transition from road racing to trails. After a disappointing DNF because of an injured hamstring at January’s Houston Marathon, the 40-year-old athlete hinted via Instagram that she wanted to take her running “in a new direction.” She told Runner’s World after the race, “I have my eye on a race in June, but it is not on the roads.”

That goal race, she revealed to Runner’s World, is the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 15. The 26.2-mile course, located roughly two hours from her home in Boulder, winds through rocky, rugged terrain and tops out at 13,185 feet in elevation. It’s a far cry from the road routes Goucher is used to—and will certainly demand a different style of running.

“I’m scared of downhills, especially,” she admitted on our drive to the trail. She explained that while she grew up running on trails in Duluth, Minnesota, and frequented nearby mountain trails while on the University of Colorado cross-country team, for many years she became what she calls a “surface diva.”

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