A professional runner from Kenya who was out training on a nature trail in the woods near his home in Maine says he encountered two charging black bears but was able to outrun them during a frantic sprint to a nearby vacant house for cover.
He told the Sun Journal that the bears were 20 yards (18 meters) away from him and a vacant house was 20 yards away in the opposite direction. So he made a run for the house, with the bears closing to within 10 yards (9 meters) by the time he found safety on the house’s screened porch.
Wardens advise people who encounter black bears to make themselves appear big, make noise and back away slowly. But they recommend people stand their ground if a black bear charges and say if the bear attacks, then fight back.
He said he knew that black bears can climb trees, so he couldn’t climb to safety. He said he considered jumping in a nearby lake, but he can’t swim.
Marube, a student at the University of Maine at Farmington who finished third in the 2012 Maine Marathon and won the 2013 half-marathon, said he’d once encountered a leopard perched in a tree while alone in Africa — but the bears were scarier.
He said he learned an important lesson from his close encounter with Maine’s wildlife: “Just make peace with people. You never know when your day comes.”