A professional marathoner from Kenya had a harrowing encounter with a pair of black bears while out for a morning run this week, according to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.
Moninda Marube, now a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, was on an 18-mile training run early Wednesday when he heard rustling noises and spotted two black bears on the path ahead. He told the Sun Journal he had three choices: climb a nearby tree, run to the lake or sprint toward a vacant house he had just passed.
Not knowing how to swim, Marube chose to run—while screaming—to the house’s screened-in porch. He said the bears charged as soon as he turned his back, but he narrowly outpaced them and reached the house first. He then unlatched the door to the deck and slipped inside, only protected by a thin netting. The bears sniffed around but did not try to break through the mesh, he said, before they left him to go about his day.
The encounter came on the Whitman Spring Road Trail in Auburn, Maine, where Marube has run many times before.
“I’ve been running this road for four years. I’ve never thought of meeting a bear here,” the 38-year-old told the Sun Journal.
Marube, who finished third in the 2012 Maine Marathon and first in the 2013 Maine half-marathon, lives with UMaine Farmington track coach Dan Campbell, who has brought the Kenyan runner into his family. Marube has been in the U.S. for seven years.
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The Sun Journal reports that Marube competed in a four-mile race the day prior, finishing second. He said he would have won if he had been chased by bears during that race. The runner often runs for good causes, whether to earn money for charity or to raise awareness about social issues. In 2015, he ran from Maine to California—a four-month journey totaling 3,700 miles—to raise awareness of human trafficking.
As far as the future goes, Marube says he’ll probably start his runs a little later in the mornings and carry pepper spray.
This article originally appeared on Si.com