Black bear upstages Olympic runner Kara Goucher in marathon

Olympic runner Kara Goucher did her first trail race on the Leadville Trail Marathon in Colorado, overcoming altitude sickness to push through for a fifth-place finish.

But she was almost upstaged by a massive bear that lumbered across the road smack in the middle of the route, stopping runners in their tracks for what might have felt like an eternity.

The road was packed at miles 12 and 13. That’s when runner Quentin Genke of Colorado Springs, glanced over to see a bear running along the course. He grabbed his phone and yelped, “Bear!” he told Runner’s World.

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Olympic runner Kara Goucher
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Olympic runner Kara Goucher
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: This is a copy of a photograph of Kara Goucher holding the American flag after winning the bronze medal in the 10,000 meter run at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. an American long-distance runner. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
USA's Kara Goucher re-awarded the silver medal in the Womens 10,000m for Osaka 2007 during day two of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: Kara Goucher, left, her husband Adam, right, and their 6 year old son Colt are photographed with their dog Freya at their home on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. an American long-distance runner. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: This is a copy of a photograph of Kara Goucher as she crosses the finish line winning the bronze medal in the 10,000 meter run at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. an American long-distance runner. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: Kara Goucher straightens framed magazine covers of herself at her home on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. an American long-distance runner. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. Goucher graced the cover of Runner's World 9 different times. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: Kara Goucher, a well-known American long distance runner, is photographed after an easy run on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Fourth place runner for the women's race Kara Goucher approaches the finish during the U.S Olympic Marathon Team Trials on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 3: Kara Goucher, a well-known American long distance runner, does an easy run on March 3, 2017 near Boulder, Colorado. Kara Goucher is being inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Wednesday April 5. This is for her outstanding achievements as a runner but also for the service she and her husband, Adam, did for the sport for blowing the whistle on coach Alberto Salazar, accusing him of doping. They reported him to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating the allegations. Goucher was the 10,000 meters bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan and represented her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She competed collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
EUGENE, OR - JUNE 28: Kara Goucher runs in the Womens 5,000 Meter during day four of the 2015 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on June 28, 2015 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OR - JUNE 28: Kara Goucher reacts after completing the Women's 5,000 Meter Run final during day four of the 2015 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on June 28, 2015 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: Kara Goucher at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Kara Goucher a of the United States competes during the Women's Marathon on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Mall on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - JANUARY 14: Kara Goucher poses with the American flag after qualifying in the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials on January 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 14: Kara Goucherm, who finished with a time of 2:26:06, holds an American flag after the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials January 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 27: Kara Goucher of United States competes in the women's 10,000 metres final during day one of the 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Daegu Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS - APRIL 18: Kara Goucher lifts jugs full of water at the Dow Live Earth Run for Water at Lake Nokomis on April 18, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Cory Ryan/Getty Images for Live Earth Events)
EUGENE, OR - JUNE 26: Kara Goucher celebrates winning the 5000m race during day 2 of the USA Track and Field National Championships on June 26, 2009 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 20: Kara Goucher of the United States reacts after finishing third in the women's division of the 113th running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts on April 20, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Kara Goucher of the US crosses the finish line to take third place in the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2008 in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: Kara Goucher of the USA celebrates after finishing third in the 2008 Womens ING New York City Marathon on November 2, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: American Kara Goucher poses for pictures at The NYC Marathon at Niketown on October 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage for Exposure Communications LLC) *** Local Caption ***
BEIJING - AUGUST 19: Kara Goucher of the United States competes in the Women's 5000m Heats held at the National Stadium on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 19: Kara Goucher of the United States competes in the Women's 5000m Heats held at the National Stadium on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OR - JULY 04: Kara Goucher is pictured after winning the gold medal in the women's 5,000 meter final during day six of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on July 4, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OR - JULY 04: Kara Goucher celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's 5,000 meter final during day six of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on July 4, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OR - JULY 04: Kara Goucher celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the women's 5,000 meter final during day six of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on July 4, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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“My good friend Quentin Genke and I were a couple of hours into our race when this huge black bear made his appearance right in front of us,” wrote runner Stephen Peterson on social media, reported CBS4 Denver. “Imagine our shock!”

It took 15 to 20 seconds for the bear to scoot across the road, but they were perhaps the longest seconds in the runners’ lives.

“Everyone froze,” Peterson, of Colorado Springs, told Runner’s World. “We let the bear do what it was going to do, and it found a gap in the runners to cross and then took off into the brush.

"Everyone just looked at each other like, ‘Did that really just happen?’ It was so casual. That was what was funny about it. In trail races, we see wildlife all the time, but you never expect a bear to jump out in front of you when you’re in a mountain race.”

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