Ultramarathon Runner Attacked by Coyote During Race

World acclaimed endurance runner loses foot race with cantankerous canine with a sweet tooth.

Ultramarathon Runner Attacked by Coyote During Race

A coyote makes a play for an energy bar during a marathon race near Sausalito, California. Photo: iStockphoto.com/mirceax

Dean Karnazes, one of the world’s most acclaimed endurance runners, was attacked by a coyote during the Headlands 150-mile Endurance Run in August near Sausalito, California.

Karnazes, 59, was running on the trail about 3 a.m. when the coyote attacked. Karnazes had his trekking poles with him, which he smashed the coyote with after it leaped from behind and knocked him down. He fought off the canine and then posted on Instagram about it, which helped race officials and others immediately know what had happened. 

The race takes place in the Marin Headlands area across the straight from San Francisco. Karnazes had an energy bar in his hand to eat and believes the coyote might have been interested in it. 

“I was running and I heard some footsteps behind me, I thought it was a big dog on the trail and I turned to look and it was a coyote,” Karnazes told NBC Bay Area. “Honestly I think it didn’t know what to do. He was looking at me, I was looking at him, [and] he was going for the bar.” 

Some locals feed the coyotes, which have become habituated to the treats. Karnazes made a second Instagram post asking for this to stop, and for anyone who sees someone doing it to say something. State wildlife officials agreed, saying the coyotes become conditioned and expect to be fed. 

Karnazes is one of the most accomplished ultra-runners in history, with numerous achievements on road and trail courses around the world.


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