Monday, July 13, 2020

A Large Moose Brought a Group of Cross Country Runners to a Halt

This past weekend, a woman in her 30's was running with two other people in Glacier National Park in Montana. She was the lead runner on a trail and -- in her words -- "collided" with a bear that she unexpectedly came up on. According to her report, she and the bear tumbled off of the path and the bear then ran away. She sustained minor injury. I lived in Montana for 32 years and visited Glacier National Park on many occasions. Prior to Montana, I had grown up in Alaska. Wildlife on trails can suddenly appear and runners need to be extremely alert to their surroundings.

Often, a bear will attack if it is surprised -- or if it is defending its cubs. Fortunately, the three trail runners weren't attacked. Although I have never run into a bear, I do recall a time in 1980 when I was running in a high school cross country race in Alaska and a large moose brought all of the runners to a halt. The moose was standing directly in the middle of the wilderness path and wouldn't move. As the competitors started to bunch up as they all came to a stop about 50 feet from the moose, it soon became apparent that it wasn't going to be scared off by a bunch of guys wearing running shorts. So, runners started to dart off of the trail in an attempt to get around the moose -- I being one of those runners. It was a race I'll always remember.

Running where there is dangerous wildlife -- such as wolves, bear, moose and mountain lions -- presents unique challenges. It's important to always be aware of your surroundings and to be prepared in the event you come upon such wildlife. Trail runners should be educated on such situations and as the old boy scout motto says... be prepared! Remember, bears can run between 25 to 35 miles per hour; wolves 31 to 37 miles per hour; moose up to 35 miles per hour; and, mountain lions 40 to 50 miles per hour. All of those animals could easily chase down a human runner.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso