The Case of the Missing Cooler

Last week, I couldn’t make my usual long run, so I arranged with a friend to run mid-week. We agreed to meet at her house, then run down to a popular trail. The trail we selected is a state-run, mulit-county trail that is hugely popular with cyclists, runners, and walkers. In anticipation of our long run, I put a cooler with water, my inhaler, a few gels, and a towel at the trail head. I routinely leave a cooler as a water drop on runs longer than 10 miles. I hate to carry a ton of water and I generally have to drink so much that I can’t carry enough reasonably. I’ve left a water drop hundreds of times. I’ve left my trusty cheap cooler on the side of roads across the state. It’s been buried in bushes, left on rocks, and stuck in trees. My cooler has been a trusty companion for me and my running buddies for a long time.

We ran past my cooler on the way into the trail. Eight miles later, we passed the water drop spot. My trusty blue cooler was GONE.

No cooler

No cooler = no water. I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe the not only would someone steal my cheap, old cooler, but that someone would take a cooler that had my inhaler, water, and running supplies in it. Every time I pass a cooler on a trail, a bottle of water in the woods, or a shirt tossed in a tree, I know immediately what it is. It’s someone’s drop. Some bicyclist, runner, or walker has left those supplies. I told everyone I knew about the theft. I was shocked. My phone number was  on the cooler (along with some purple hearts and a little sketch – my theft deterrent) and when a day passed without contact, I assumed that someone had actually stolen my $8 cooler.

Imagine my shock when late the next day, someone called me. He had my cooler. This “helpful” guy told me that he “found” it and knew I would be missing it, given that it had my inhaler and cold water in it. Well, not missing it too much since it took him more than 24 hours to contact me. Sigh. As happy as I was to have my cooler returned, I was dismayed that someone would move a cooler full of supplies.

That’s when I realized – runners are weird. It was entirely possible that he had taken my cooler trying to be helpful. Maybe everyone doesn’t know what a cooler on the trail means.  Huh. I guess we are a strange bunch after all.

One thought on “The Case of the Missing Cooler

  1. That is crazy! I mean seeing what’s in it, wouldn’t he have known you had left it for a reason or you, yourself, was lost/missing.

    Happy you got it back though!

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