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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

A series of photos reached us by e-mail this week. The friend of a brother of a colleague evidently took them just before a middle school cross-country race. The pictures show a young man who is running and he's being pursued by an unofficial entrant in the race. It's a deer. For the first four shots, the deer's just running behind him. In the last three, the deer's caught up with him and he clearly wants to make friends.

We have tracked down the young runner. He is Kevin Cox and he's a 7th grader at Cascade Middle School in Bend, Oregon. Welcome to the program, Kevin. It's nice to talk with you.

Mr. KEVIN COX (Middle School Cross Country Runner, Bend, Oregon): Hi.

SIEGEL: Tell us about when this happened. When were you running and met this deer?

Mr. COX: This was in Redmond and I was just doing a warm up right before the race. And everyone was petting this deer so I walked up and I thought it'd be pretty cool to pet a deer. So I walked up and I petted the deer. Then it started licking my back and the coaches said that's because they wanted the salt from my sweat on my back. And then it jumped on my back so I pushed it off, and it jumped on my back again so I just started walking away. And then I looked back and I saw it running after me, so I started running and it ran after me for about seven minutes before it caught up.

SIEGEL: Seven minutes?

Mr. COX: Yeah.

SIEGEL: You were outrunning the deer for that long. That's pretty good.

Mr. COX: Yeah.

SIEGEL: When you were running all that time with the deer following you, were you just running around in circles or were you running a course?

Mr. COX: I was running around in circles when the deer was running after me.

SIEGEL: Umm hmm. Now in the pictures that I've seen, I see you and I see the deer. I see a couple of other people in the distance but there must have been a lot of people aware this was happening when it was taking place, yes?

Mr. COX: Yeah. Everyone kind of knew it was happening. So the way I got the deer away from me is I had to run into a group of coaches and they shooed the deer off with their sweatshirts.

And as this was happening, were the coaches and the other children - were they cheering you on? Were they laughing?

Mr. COX: They were laughing.

SIEGEL: They were laughing.

Mr. COX: One of the coaches was just taking pictures of me and laughing at me.

SIEGEL: I'm sure he was laughing with you.

Mr. COX: Yes.

SIEGEL: Except you weren't laughing at the time.

Mr. COX: I wasn't laughing.

SIEGEL: It was kind of scary, I should imagine. I mean, the deer is…

Mr. COX: It was a little scary.

SIEGEL: Yeah. Yeah. Were there any other deer around?

Mr. COX: No, there weren't. And this deer seemed friendly to everyone else, you know? Because people were coming up and petting him and taking pictures with her.

SIEGEL: Well, the deer seems friendly to you. It doesn't seem to be the problem.

Mr. COX: Yeah.

SIEGEL: It kind of wants to climb up on you there.

Mr. COX: Yeah.

SIEGEL: Yeah.

Mr. COX: A little too friendly.

SIEGEL: Yeah. Did the deer turn out to be a good training partner? When the race came, did you run well?

Mr. COX: I ran pretty well.

SIEGEL: Yeah.

Mr. COX: It gave me a good warm up.

SIEGEL: Kevin, thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. COX: Thank you.

SIEGEL: That's Kevin Cox, who is a 7th grader at Cascade Middle School in Bend, Oregon. And you can see the pictures of Kevin being pursued by a deer at our web site, NPR.org.

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