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Rescued Modesto Runner Says He Never Thought He Was Going To Die

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MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto man who was lost in the wilderness near Foresthill is recovering at home

CBS13 was there on Tuesday when Bob Root was wheeled into the hospital after being rescued. He got separated from his running team on Sunday on the Western States Trail near Foresthill.

He says he never even thought for a second he would die.

“I decided I wasn’t going to die,” he said. “It just was not going to happen.”

When his survival instincts kicked in, he had only one thought: Live.

“I didn’t really let myself get too freaked about it, too scared, because if I did that, I’d have to fight that battle in order to get out,” Root said.

With only a light jacket and shorts, the endurance runner says the cold constant rain nearly put his body into shock.

“You tighten your core muscles, and your chest and back to try to keep you warm a bit,” he said.

The 55-year-old athlete says he veered off the path and couldn’t find his way back.

“I got to this clearing, and I couldn’t see the trail,” he said. “I didn’t know which trail to go on.”

When morning came on Monday, Bob set off to find the trail, but he wound up walking in a full circle.

“I got down to the river, and I see an Evian bottle there—wow people have been here,” he said. “I look around and go, ugh, this is where I started.”

Tuesday morning, he tried again, this time with a different strategy.

“On Tuesday, I said OK, I’m just going to go up and west, up and left, just keep going up and left,” he said.

It worked. He would spot rescuers waiting for him along the same trail he got lost on.

“Saw guys and ladies in red jumpsuits, and I go, ‘Hi.’ They go, ‘Are you Bob Root?’ ‘Yeah, I’m Bob Root,’” he said laughing.

With time to reflect on his time alone and lost in the woods, Bob says even at 55 years old, he has learned a few things about himself.

“I learned if you say that you are going to survive, then you are going to survive,” he said.

Root isn’t done running. He says he will take the weekend off, but still plans to run a 50-mile endurance race this July.

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