Marathon Runner Plays Dead to Survive Bear Attack
A woman is praising her fellow runners after she was mauled by a bear during a marathon and they came to her rescue.
“Hi guys, I was the person who got into the tussle with the bear. I will tell you the whole story but first I want to thank a lot of people. The running community is amazing!” Karen Williams wrote in a Facebook post, a day after her ordeal in Valles Calderas National Preserve in New Mexico on Saturday.
“The first person to come across me after the attack was Ken Oconnor, about 33 minutes after. ( I stopped garmin when he came so I am pretty sure of that time). I had blood in my eyes and a flap hanging over one so I couldn’t really see anybody but I recognized Ken’s calm voice,” Williams says, as she goes on to thank many other people for their help.
Regarding the attack, Williams provides a detailed account.
She was just over halfway through the marathon when she reached the top of a little hill and saw a bear charging her.
“She was about 15 ft away. I raised my arms and yelled “NO!” then saw the cub,” Williams wrote on Facebook. Williams had surprised a mother bear and its cub climbed a nearby tree.
Williams goes on to describe the attack in great detail, including how she was “raked with claws,” “bitten,” and hit with a powerful left hook.
“I rolled into a ball and played dead,” she wrote.
The bear went some 25–30 feet away to attend to her cub, but “kept glancing my way to make sure that I was still ‘dead.'”
William said she waited about 10 minutes or so until she couldn’t hear the bear or cub anymore.
“Then I tried to look around but was having trouble seeing much. I tried to sit up but was nauseated and my arms didn’t seem to work right. After 14 hours at UNMH and a cool helicopter ride and a very bumpy ambulance ride prior it turns out that I have a fractured right orbit from the mean left hook, missing parts of eyelid and eyebrow, injury to the belly of my left bicep and a lot of punctures and lacerations. But I am alive.”
Williams was eventually airlifted to an Albuquerque area hospital for treatment.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish said it has since killed the bear and will test it for rabies.