Kenyan runner outruns bear

Last updated: 12-Jul-17

By Alice Morrison

This is a story that has really captured the running world’s imagination. An elite runner from Kenya, who was out on a training run in the woods near his home in Maine, USA, was faced with two charging black bears. He saved his life by outrunning them in a fast and furious sprint to a nearby vacant house for cover.

Moninda Marube said when he saw the bears early Wednesday his instincts kicked in and he did what he does best – run! Luckily, he is a pretty fast runner. He finished third in the 2012 Maine Marathon and won the 2013 half-marathon.

He came extremely close to death. The bears were only 18 metres away from him and were catching him, the house was about the same distance in the other direction, so he made a dash for it. The bears closed on him and would have caught him if the house had been much further. He estimated they were just nine metres behind him when he made it into the screened porch.

The bears stopped, not realising they could’ve easily broken through the porch screens. Marube said, they sniffed around for a while before wandering away.

You are advised to make yourself big and stand still if you encounter bears but Marube said that didn’t work. He said he initially tried to stare down the bears but they charged the moment he turned his back on them.

He knew that black bears can climb trees, so he couldn’t climb to safety and he considered jumping in a nearby lake, but he can’t swim.

Running was his only option. He took on the sprint of his life, for his life, and won. He was fast and lucky as this story just comes a couple of weeks after a boy was tragically killed by bears during a race.

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.”

His story on youtube: 

"You are advised to make yourself big and stand still if you encounter bears but Marube said that didn’t work"

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