During the Valles Caldera Runs Marathon this past weekend in New Mexico, a 53-year-old runner was attacked by a black bear at about mile 23, according to numerous reports.
Karen Williams suffered several injuries, including a broken orbital bone, ripped tear duct, puncture wounds and more. She is expected to recover.
The Santa Fe New Mexican spoke to Williams, who harbored no resentment.
“I was just being an ultrarunner, and she was just being a bear,” Williams told the New Mexican. “It was unfortunate that we met.”
The black bear was a mother and her cubs were nearby. She attacked Williams when the runner crested a hill, unaware of what she was about to run into.
According to the New Mexican, it was 30 minutes before another runner found her. One runner stayed with Williams, while another rushed to an aid station to get help. She was eventually flown by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital.
The marathon takes place within Valles Caldera National Preserve in Jemez Springs, N.M. The preserve superintendent Jorge Silva-Banuelos released a statement on social media on Monday.
“A participant in a permitted running event on Valles Caldera National Preserve was attacked by a female American black bear when the individual came upon the bear’s cubs along a backcountry road being used as the event route. The incident occurred in the southwest corner of the preserve, known as Banco Bonito, approximately seven miles away from the Valle Grande.
“Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with the individual during their recovery from injuries.”
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