As if completing an Ironman wasn't hard enough. For a Salt Lake City man, the world's preeminent test of endurance featured 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, 26.2 miles of running and a bear. Yes, a bear.
About 8 miles into the marathon run Sunday in Whistler, British Columbia, Marc Rosello spotted a "sort-of commotion" ahead on the road. He looked ahead to his right and saw the black bear, elevated on a trail about 20 feet from the road course and turning downhill into the greenery.
"I think to myself, if he comes straight down this hill, we're going to intersect," Rosello said. "This could derail a good day."
Indeed, down the hill it went. Barely coherent after all those miles, Rosello shuffled to the side of the track and prayed that he'd taken the proper course of action as he ran around the bear. NBC tweeted a post-encounter image Wednesday, in which Rosello can be seen in orange.
"It gets the heart rate going, that's for sure," said Rosello, an occupational therapist at the University of Utah's Sugar House Health Center. "I do rehabilitation, so I wasn't looking forward to going through it with my co-workers."
Rosello finished 10th in his age group and 55th overall to qualify for his second straight Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in October.
"I had a little extra adrenaline," he says. "I think I'll give the bear a little bit of credit for that mile."
Ironman could not immediately comment on what happened to the bear, or if they have had past bear encounters.