Reid Roberts was training. He runs ultra marathons, 125km to 250km, and he trains for them every chance he gets. He is an experienced trail runner, and knows the dangers that come along with running in the wild. He avoids paved roads and will only run on them if it’s from the parking lot to an actual trail. So, when he and his dog, Pacer, came across a black bear, it wasn’t anything new. He had encountered bears before, and had successfully scared them off to continue on his runs.
This time was different.
He startled a mother black bear who was guarding her two cubs. She had been standing very close to the trail and hadn’t heard them approach. Roberts hadn’t seen the bear because she was obscured by large bushes. When the two met, he knew that he was in serious trouble.
Her ears went back, her snout went down, and her eyes zeroed in on him as she charged forward. He doesn’t remember how he ended up on the ground, but at one point, he was trying to kick her away while she attacked.
That is when Pacer distracted her for just a few seconds. Pacer leaped at the bear and began to bite her, giving Roberts a few precious seconds to get up and try to find cover, but the only things around them were sparse bushes. He hid behind a few regardless, but the mother bear was back at him just moments later, and once again, he was thrown to the ground.
Pacer charged again, and this time, the mother bear took the bait. Pacer ran and baited her towards the parking lot and Roberts tried to climb a tree, thinking that she would be back. He pulled out his phone and called a friend, but had to leave a voicemail explaining the situation. His friend often ran with him, and would be more familiar with the area than rescue personnel.
He next called emergency services, and as he predicted, they had no idea where he was. After a long few minutes explaining what was happening, he told them to send an ambulance to the parking lot.
His hand was gushing blood, but he made his way toward safety…in the same direction that the bear had run off to.Thankfully, he did not see the bear again, and Pacer was soon discovered at his friend’s home just 2km away. After 16 stitches from the bear injuries, he is expected to make a full recovery.
The dangerous bear has been euthanized, and the cubs were taken to a wildlife refuge to be cared for.