Bear Trapped by Western States Trail Closure Complains to Local Paper



A bear affected by trail closures at the Western States Endurance Run has written to his local newspaper to complain, Dumb Runner has learned.

Ajax, an adult black bear whose home is steps from the race course in California’s Duncan Canyon, said he and his fellow wilderness creatures got “no advance notice” of the event and groused that he and his family were “trapped for hours” as the race unfolded Saturday into Sunday.

Western States, a 100-mile trail race famous for its rugged terrain and challenging conditions, follows the Western States Trail, starting in Squaw Valley, California, and ending in the town of Auburn.

“I headed out Saturday morning to get breakfast,” Ajax wrote in a letter to The Woodland Bugle, a daily paper serving the local wildlife population. Ajax noted that he smelled something funny right away, then was startled by the sudden appearance of a runner, sending him loping back to his den.

“So that was that,” he wrote. “Couldn’t get to my favorite stream because some runners decided it was more important to have their little race through my neighborhood.”

When he ventured out about an hour later, he said, he saw another runner and “gave up on” his plans for the day.

“I guess runners only care about themselves,” he wrote, “never mind who it inconveniences.”

“There are thousands of miles of paved roads. Why can’t they run there?”

Clare Gallagher won the women’s race in 17 hours 23 minutes 25 seconds; Jim Walmsley won the men’s race in14:09:28, breaking his own 2018 course record by more than 20 minutes.