Professional runner Moninda Marube came in second in a race Tuesday but came in first in a more important one Wednesday when he encountered two black bears. Marube says he met the bears early in the morning on a dirt road in woods near Auburn, Maine, the Guardian reports. He says he can't swim, and knows better than to try to climb a tree to escape a bear, so he decided running was his only option when they charged. Marube says he managed to make it to a vacant house he had passed earlier. He got to the porch and closed the screen door with the bears just 10 yards behind him. Over the next few minutes, the two bears sniffed around the porch and looked through the screening before wandering off.
Marube tells the Lewiston Sun Journal that he encountered a leopard once while running in Kenya, where he grew up, but the close call with the bears was much worse. "I don't fear lion," he says. "I don't fear anything else. But a bear is scary." Marube says he plans to start his runs later in the morning and will carry pepper spray in the future. Authorities in Maine say people who encounter aggressive bears are not advised to run. Instead, they should try to make themselves look larger while slowly backing away—and "remain calm" if they charge. Marube says he was aware of advice to "stand your ground"—but found it hard to follow it when the bears ran at him. (This bear crashed through a bedroom window in Alaska.)