Bear Crossing a Road Brings Marathon to a Stunning Stop

No one seemed particularly upset about the bear running in front of them.
Why did the bear cross the road? Quentin Genke

The black bear seemed interested only crossing the road, not the runners in his path.

Well, that's a sight you don't see everyday.

A group of runners in Colorado came to an abrupt halt when a black bear clambered out of the woods and ran across the road they were on. 

"The first reaction I had was 'Whoa, I need to get a picture of that,''' said Quentin Genke, who stopped in his tracks and did exactly that. He posted the bear photo on his Facebook page, which promptly lit up social media. 

He was running the Leadville Trail Marathon in Colorado Springs when the bear suddenly appeared between mile 12 and 13. His race partner, Pete Peterson, told the bear didn't give a hoot about the runners, who were staring in fascination. 

"He really didn't care about us, to tell the truth," Peterson said. "He was more interested in looking for food. Peterson said he tried to take some photos as well, but he wasn't as quick on the draw as his friend Genke, who already had his phone out as the bear "shot across the road."

Genke said he wasn't one bit scared. "The bear's going to eat the slowest runner in the group, and that's not me," he joked.

Actually, black bears aren't much interested in humans and don't see them as threats, unless there is a bear cub around, Peterson said.

He encountered a black bear last year, running by himself at the Air Force Academy, where he works as a public relations director for the iconic Cadet Chapel, designed by architect Walter Netsch. 

That bear rose up on its hind legs and locked eyes on Peterson, who cautiously stepped aside. "They tell you not to run away and just stop and slowly walk away," he said. 

At the Leadville race, Peterson said the runners in his group were so exhausted from the grueling mountain course at elevations of 11,000 feet, they didn't have a lot of energy to spend on freaking out.

"Everybody had a really casual attitude," he said. "No one screamed. ... Then he darted across the road and everybody just started running again."

Genke, who is a chaplain at the academy, said the bear was just "something to talk about and share with other runners. It was just something to remember the race by."