Runners share trail tales

James Keller stands next to his unexpected running companion, Novio, near the winners’ podium at the Running with the Bears marathon Aug. 17. Keller’s meeting with the goat was one of many captivating stories to come out of the event. Photo submitted
James Wilson

  With more than 300 runners participating in the Running with the Bears marathon Aug. 17, lots of mini-adventures were had. After the marathon was completed, runners swapped stories of their experiences. Here are a few of the stories that surfaced.

The bear

  Chuck Engle, the athlete who won the marathon, found out that Running with the Bears really lived up to its name. At Mile 17, Engle came face to face with a black bear on the route. Josie Litchfield, race director, wrote on the marathon’s Facebook page, “Just glad it’s not ‘Running with the mountain lions!’”

Running with the goat

  James Keller thought he would run the marathon solo, but met a friend along the way that turned into his running partner. At Mile 7, a runaway goat named Novio encountered Keller and decided to run along with him. The goat ran up behind Keller and continued to voice his support for the next 3 miles.

  “He was a great pacer,” Keller commented. “When he first came up behind me, he kindly nipped at my heels, as if to say, ‘You call that running?’ So I turned it up a notch, to a seven minute, 15 second mile pace.”

  The goat kept the pace and would release a “baaaah” every 5 – 10 seconds, as if encouraging Keller to keep moving. Novio eventually let Keller run ahead, but then followed him back to the finish line later in the run.

  During the awards ceremony Novio walked up to the podium, which was constructed of hay, and took a bite. Novio is reportedly back home with his owners now.

Broken foot

  Jared Marshall traveled to Indian Valley from Los Angeles to compete in the half-marathon. Everything was going swimmingly up to Mile 23. With only a little over 3 miles left to run, Marshall fractured his foot.

  A support vehicle picked him up and brought him to the finish line where his foot was wrapped. Marshall sat at the finish line and watched runner after runner make their way to the end. Finally, Marshall’s girlfriend crossed the finish line, and inspired Marshall to do the same.

  Marshall had his girlfriend drive him back to Mile 23, where he ran on his broken foot the remaining 3 miles. Pushing the pain aside, Marshall limped past the finish line to accomplish what he traveled so far to do.

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