BRAINERD, Minn. - Kandi Hanson has a history of run-ins with deer. She totaled her first car and damaged two others in collisions with deer. This weekend, the deer struck back.
As Hanson approached the halfway mark of the 10-kilometer Sour Grapes Half and Half run Saturday, a spooked deer darted out of the woods and crashed into Hanson, tossing the 28-year-old into the air and sending her sprawling onto the grass before disappearing into the woods.
"There were two deer and the first one literally flew by right in front of us and brushed us," the Pequot Lakes woman said.
Hanson and two friends, Lottie Oehrlein and Robin Warden, shrieked at their encounter with the first deer before cautiously continuing their run, oblivious of the second deer.
"We started running a little bit again and Lottie yelled out, 'Here comes another one' and I couldn't get out of the way fast enough, it plowed into me."
Hanson didn't know how to react.
"I was very surprised, my eyes were huge, I was part crying, part laughing. I didn't know what to do," she said.
But Hanson spit the dirt out of her mouth, brushed herself off and finished the race. She escaped with only minor scrapes, bruises and soreness.
Sour Grapes director Jeanne Larson said race organizers were prepared for common runners' ailments, but not this.
"When I'm running I consider myself lucky to even see a deer. Getting hit by a deer while running I don't consider so lucky," she said.
Although Hanson finished in 31st place, the middle school teacher didn't come away empty-handed. She received a first-place plaque for being airborne the longest.