A Kenyan runner living in Maine was out on a very early morning 18-mile (29K) run when he encountered two black bears.
At around 10K into his run, Moninda Marube spotted the wildlife emerge from the brush approximately 18m ahead while in the woods of Auburn, a town of 22,000 approximately 45 minutes southwest of the state capital in Augusta. Marube crossed paths with the bears near Auburn Lake, a common drinking area for wildlife. He stopped in his tracks, as did the bears, when both groups noticed each other.
“I had to make a quick decision: either to climb up this tree or to run back or run to the lake,” Marube told the Sun Journal on July 5. “Because I was not going to fight them.”
Contemplating what to do, Marube says the black bears began charging at him. He opted to sprint to a nearby vacant house, about 20m away, and says that the two bears covered that same distance in about half the time. Marube adds that running to the lake was an option but he cannot swim. Upon reaching the house, Marube was able to lock himself inside. Under cover in a screened porch, the bears stopped short of Marube and sniffed around the house before scurrying away.
The 2:22:29 marathoner says that standing his ground had been recommended to him in the past. “But, at that time, you cannot think standing your ground once they start running towards you,” he told the Sun Journal.
After leaving the house in which he took refuge, Marube spent the next hour running back to his home, where he is currently living with a local track coach and his family. The Kenyan has been living in the United States for seven years and is a regular on the local road racing circuit. He currently attends the University of Maine at Farmington.
“Nature needs to be preserved and not to be disturbed,” Marube wrote on his Facebook page on July 8 referencing the series of events. “The bears are entitled to their sanctuary.”