Community Canadian Death Race Runner and His Wife Fight Off Bears

Canadian Death Race Runner and His Wife Fight Off Bears


This happened on Saturday, at 1:20 in the afternoon, in Alberta.  Lisa and I were training on Leg 4 of the Canada Death Race trail.  We were about 7K from the highway about three-fourths of the way up Mount Hamel. We were just talking about stopping to put on jackets because the wind was picking up, when we heard a noise in the bush to our left. About that time, the bear stood up 10 or 15 feet from us. She looked at us for about a second, then started to run at us through the bush. When it came onto the road, less than 5 feet away from us, I pepper sprayed her.

She ran to the left, then her two cubs came out on our right and started to charge us.  I sprayed each one of them.

After that is was just commotion….it seemed like bears were everywhere. I gave one more shot of bear spray then realized I was almost out so I asked Lisa for hers. She couldn’t find it! I turn around and realized that she had tripped and fallen off the side of the road, down a hill. The sow was at her feet, growling and moaning at her. I was just waiting for the bear to bite! 

That’s when I realized that we were no longer trying to scare away the bears….now we were just trying to survive!

Because I was up on the hill and Lisa’s feet were much lower, the bear’s head was about 10 feet from me and I wasn’t too sure that the bear spray would reach that far, but I couldn’t do anything else to make the bear go away. So I leaned as far down as I could and emptied the last of the bear spray in the bear’s face.  That made the bear leave Lisa, but then it came back up on the road and charged me again! I hit it with my running pole. And that gave Lisa time to get up on the road and start throwing rocks at it. It turned and ran off the road then.

I was able to GPS track the whole ordeal.  It lasted just less than 2 minutes, but it seemed to last FOR EVER!!!!  

Crazy times for sure!!!  After running leg four of Sinister this weekend, I’m going back to make another attempt to run leg 4 of the Death Race. I want to run past that spot before race day. 

Trust me, I will not be alone, and will have bear spray with me!! 

In hind sight, there isn’t much I would do differently next time.  We were prepared with the proper gear. We were together and we were talking loudly and we were actually power hiking at the time of the attack. I’m not sure what startled the bear, but she was definitely having a bad day!!

In the scuffle, I lost my sunglasses and Go Pro camera. Some runners went up a couple days later and found the empty bear spray canister, but weren’t able to find my camera. I like to think that the bear has it and is taking some sweet selfies!!!  Maybe someday, it will turn up!! 

Little did I know who much trail running really could change my life!!


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