Ultramarathoner shares frightening story of coyote attack at Marin Headlands

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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A Bay Area runner is telling his story after he was hurt during an encounter with a coyote while running in a trail in Marin Headlands.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area runner is telling his story after he was hurt during an encounter with a coyote while running in a trail in Marin Headlands.

Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes posted a video on Instagram moments after the attack. Karnazes says he had just opened a energy bar during the run at around 3 a.m. Friday, about 40 miles into the 150-mile trail. After hearing a noise coming from behind, Karnazes says he swung around to look -- that's when a coyote jumped on him.

"A coyote just hit me and went right down on my face," Karnazes said, "I looked up and it was kind of in front of me. And I had running poles, I was running with running poles. So I hit it and it just scurried off."

The coyote, according to the the marathoner, was a medium-sized dog that looked to be well-fed with a nice coat. He says he'd seen coyotes earlier that day, but did not have any unwanted altercation -- this one was after his food.

VIDEO: Coyote spotted wandering around SF's Laurel Heights neighborhood

"It was in an area that I later learned that people are, it's been problematic with people feeding the coyote. So I think it just saw the food as an opportunity."

Though he got a bloodied face when he fell, Karnazes was able to fend off the animal without any other injuries. Will he be back on the trail again? Definitely, he says.

Karnazes has this message for other trail runners that may have a similar encounter with a wild animal:

"I think that if they(runners) see someone feeding a coyote, say something, let wild animals be wild. The mystique and the magic of ultra marathon is you're out in nature and you see a lot of animals- you see deer, you see coyotes, bobcats, and you see a lot of rabbits and it's a really unique experience. And we're just we're so blessed to have it right in our backyard here in the Bay Area. So I'd say come on out and and just be a little bit more mindful. Don't be running at three in the morning by yourself eating food. Yeah."

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