Moninda Marube, a professional runner from Kenya who is also a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, awoke before 5 a.m. on Wednesday to go for an 18-mile run.
Things were fine for about six miles—until Marube ran into two black bears on a trail near Auburn Lake. After a five-second staredown, Marube did precisely what experts say you shouldn’t: He turned around and ran, according to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal. The bears immediately gave chase, and got as close as 10 yards from Marube before he managed to lock himself in a screened porch.
Then a waiting game began.
“They could see me. I could see them,” Marube told the Sun Journal. Ten minutes went by like this, as the bears sniffed around, before they suddenly peeled off into the woods. (The bears apparently didn’t realize that they could easily have broken through the screens.)
Marube’s close encounter with two of Maine’s estimated 36,000 black bears was over, and left him with a moment of contemplation. “Just make peace with people,” he told the Sun Journal. “You never know when your day comes.”
So what should you do if you see a black bear? According to the National Park Service, stand your ground and start shouting, while beginning a slow retreat. You should also throw rocks. If the bear attacks anyway, fight with any available weapon, including your bare fists.
“Do not,” they advise, “play dead.”