WATCH: Elk chases Colorado runner

WATCH: Elk chases Colorado runner

A Colorado man added an unexpected speedwork session to his recent run after notifying too late that he was headed into the path of a clearly annoyed elk. The short video clip, posted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, is a highlight reel of recent close encounters between park visitors and large wildlife.

The first encounter shows video from someone who was trying to get up-close footage of a female moose and her calf, before the protective mother rushes the cameraperson, sending them tumbling backward.

The next video shows park visitors walking along a pathway, where an elk has taken up a defensive position. As the visitors continue along the edge of the path, the elk charges, prompting a young couple to snatch up their dog and hop over the guardrail to safety.

That’s when the runner enters the picture. Oblivious to the elk’s presence, the man can be seen continuing straight along that path at a seemingly brisk but comfortable pace. As he gets closer, the elk begins to make its move. The runner is clearly shocked to see an elk charging toward him from the right, and the animal gives chase. The runner uses the surge of adrenaline to pick up the pace, dashing out of harm’s way in the nick of time.

Photo: Christie Greene/Unsplash

The video was posted by the state’s wildlife department as a warning for park visitors to steer clear of wildlife, which are unafraid to show their aggressive side when protecting their young. “Mammas are strong & will protect their lil’ ones,” the agency tweeted. “Wildlife are protecting & raising their young. Moose, deer and elk with newborn calves and fawns can become aggressive to defend them.

“What can you do? It’s simple, GIVE THEM SPACE & LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE.”

The warning comes weeks after officials temporarily closed a section of the Meadowlark Trail outside Superior, Colo., about halfway between Denver and Boulder. Two female runners were injured within days of each other on the trail after being charged by a herd of cattle protecting their young.

Fortunately, the elk in this latest incident didn’t have the endurance of the elk who crashed the Dayville Bunny Hop 5K in Oregon in 2016 and finished the course.

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