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Kara Goucher Nearly Collides With Mountain Lion on Morning Training Run

The big cats are a regular part of life in Boulder, but the former Olympian wasn’t expecting to see one on a populated road.

Even Kara Goucher, 2:24:52 marathoner and mainstay of U.S. women’s distance running for over a decade, gets spooked sometimes. But when it’s a dangerous wild predator just inches away from you, that’s understandable.

Since the return of an old hamstring injury forced Goucher to drop out of January’s Houston Marathon after 16 miles—her first marathon attempt since her heartbreaking fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials—Goucher has taken her running in a new direction: the trails.

Though she wants more time to acclimate to the new discipline, Goucher told Runner’s World, training in her home of Boulder, Colorado has been going well. That is, until she nearly collided with a mountain lion.

Goucher set out around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday, May 6, toward the trail systems west of Boulder. As she passed alongside a parked truck outside a residential construction site on Sunshine Canyon Drive—still a Boulder road, not a trail—a mountain lion sprinted across the front of the vehicle. The two were inches away when they saw each other, Goucher told Runner’s World.

“It happened so fast,” Goucher said. “In my mind I was like, ‘That’s not a dog, that’s not a cat. Holy sh--.’”

Goucher set out around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday, May 6, toward the trail systems west of Boulder. As she passed alongside a parked truck outside a residential construction site on Sunshine Canyon Drive—still a Boulder road, not a trail—a mountain lion sprinted across the front of the vehicle. The two were inches away when they saw each other, Goucher told Runner’s World.

“It happened so fast,” Goucher said. “In my mind I was like, ‘That’s not a dog, that’s not a cat. Holy sh--.’”

But the circumstances—along a developed, populated road in broad daylight—caught her off guard.

“The more I’ve talked to people, the more I’ve thought about it, the fact I ran into it was such a fluke incident,” she said.

Goucher hasn’t braved the trails alone since the incident. (She has run with her male training partner on the trails and alone on the road.) She’s not sure if the unease will wear off in time, but doesn’t plan to venture into the wilderness alone in the near future.

Her biggest takeaway is the need to be more actively prepared for similar encounters, Goucher said. In theory, she knew the standard advice—stay calm, stand your ground, appear intimidating—but that knowledge went out the window in the moment.

“I don’t normally worry about it, because I think I make smart choices,” she said. “But people should practice making yourself big and backing away. I want to make sure if I’m in the situation again, I make the right decisions.”

(05/25/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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