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At around 12:30 p.m. today, searchers found missing runner Robert Root. He was alert, walking and talking when found about 2 ½ miles from the Michigan Bluff trailhead of the Western States Trail.
Root, 55, of Modesto, was last seen around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, while running with a group. He was only wearing running shorts, shoes and a light jacket.
He is currently being evaluated at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, but appears to have no injuries. He is in great spirits. He is hoping to be released from the hospital by tonight.
“The searchers were all awesome,” he said from his hospital bed. “I’m so thankful for all the people in my life.”
Root said Sunday morning he was trying to catch up with a group of runners ahead of the group he was in, when he took a wrong turn on the trail. He ended up on a cliff overlooking the American River, where he scooted into some shrubbery for warmth and slept off and on throughout the night. The next morning he tried to find his way out, but ended up back at the same spot. He spent the second night in the same area.
He survived on a small amount of water he had with him, plus some supplements that runners typically carry for energy. He said he couldn’t stop shaking and compressed and released his muscles over and over to stay warm.
Today, he decided to head “up and west,” he said, and when he got to the El Dorado Bridge, he saw searchers in their bright-colored uniforms.