7 Times When Animals Completely Disrupted Races


Whether you are interrupting a race as runners go by or jumping into the field without officially entering (also known as banditing, which is always against race rules), it is pretty much always looked down upon by those who are running.

Yet not everyone seems to get the memo. Animals especially have trouble remembering to fill out the prerace forms, though they occasionally enjoy participating in the sport or making their presence known to the runners nearby. From deer to bears to elk to dogs, these are the most memorable creature encounters caught on camera during running events.

A Dog on a Track

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And down the stretch Fido comes!

In April of 2021, with high school runners back on the track after a year of COVID-restrictions, a puppy showed that humans weren’t the only ones tired of being away from competition. You see in this video from Mile Split that a puppy made its way onto a track during a 4×200-meter relay race at the Grizzly Invitational in Logan, Utah on Saturday. And we have to say, we’re impressed with the finishing kick this pup has.

A Bear Crashes a 10-Miler

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A group of runners were at the halfway point of the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when a bear meandered across the road right in front of them, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The bear initially hesitated before a large enough gap in the crowd opened up. Although some participants seemed to remain calm, most were clearly not expecting to come across the bear on their route. (Nobody was harmed during the race.)

Cross-Country Deer

Football is supposed to be the fall contact sport. Unless there are deer. At an NCAA regional cross-country meet in Pennsylvania, a deer running full throttle collided with Justin DeLuzio, a senior competing for Gwynedd Mercy University. DeLuzio suffered bad bruising, but managed to finish the race with aid from a teammate.

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Ludivine the Hound

Ludivine Midrace

WeRunHuntsville/Gregg Gelmis

The inaugural Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon in rural Elkmont, Alabama, welcomed an unexpected, and unofficial entrant last January. Ludivine, a two-year-old hound, wandered to the start line after being let out to pee. The dog went on to complete the entire 13.1 miles in 1:32:56, receiving a medal and heaps of praise for her efforts. The race has even been renamed to the Hound Dog Half Marathon in Ludivine’s honor.

Buddy the Elk

An elk enters a 5K

Cheryl Hoefler, Blue Mountain Eagle

In the small town of Dayville, Oregon, locals are used to the occasional elk encounter. Which is why participants in the Bunny Hop 5K last Easter barely flinched when Buddy, one of the town’s notorious elk, jumped into the course. The animal stayed with a pack of runners for nearly the entire race, and even hung around for a few minutes at the postrace party.

Bear Cubs in Alaskan Triathlon

Ambling through the woods in Anchorage, Alaska, a family of black bears unexpectedly interrupted the running leg of the Golden Nugget Triathalon in May. While crossing the dirt path on the course, one of the curious cubs approached a runner, who calmly stepped back to let the family meander away. In a video of the encounter, one volunteer can be heard saying, “Just another day in Alaska.”

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A Shetland Pony in a 10K

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Imagine participants’ surprise when they found themselves running alongside a horse at the Trafford 10K in Manchester, England. Mildred, a 12-year-old Shetland Pony, escaped from her field along the route and ran two kilometers before being caught by race marshals at the 9K mark. Watch our video on tips for running with a miniature horse in case you find yourself in this situation at your next race.

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