Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Coyote Alert!

Over my winter break/Christmas break/holiday break/whatever you want to call it, I was staying with my aunt, who lives in a suburb outside of Denver. I decided to go out for a run down the trail by her house that led to a park by the nearby recreation center. There’s a loop around the park that’s about half a mile long, and I was having a nice, peaceful run around it calmly when – I SAW A COYOTE SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO THE TRAIL!!! AHHHH!!!! So I started going back towards my aunt’s house, but there was another coyote walking towards me from the other side! I was in between the two and couldn’t get around them any other way, so I ran as fast as I could out of there and back to my aunt’s house. No one else was around at the time, and I was so scared I was going to be eaten alive! Hat, gloves, running shoes and all! Thankfully, I made it out alive, without any bites missing from me 🙂

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as much of a life-threatening experience as I thought in the heat of the moment. But it was frightening nonetheless. And it made me think – in situations like those, what on earth are you supposed to do if you encounter wild animals on your run?? I’m not from Colorado myself, and I’ve never run into any coyotes back in my hometown. Afterwards I did some research on it, and it turns out that running from those coyotes wasn’t the best solution.  According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (Denver area), coyotes are common  in urban areas, and they’ve grown accustomed to people and have lost their natural fear of us. I also found out that while coyotes normally don’t attack people, they will attack pets and sometimes small children. However, there have been more incidents with coyote attacks lately, increasing from about one per year in 2007 to two to five by 2012. Even though the attacks are not usually too serious, or at least not life-threatening, who would want a giant bite in their leg? Not me! While I probably wasn’t in serious danger for my life, I now know what to do if I come across one again !

  • Be as big and loud as possible
  • Wave your arms, clap and throw objects at the coyote
  • Shout in a loud and authoritative voice
  • Do not run or turn your back on the coyote
  • Face the coyote and back away slowly

~from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

Had I known this before, it probably would have helped and saved a good portion of my panic. I definitely just turned and ran away as fast as I could, when I should have remained facing the coyote and backed out of there slowly. I also learned that they have repellant spray, or I could carry vinegar in a spray bottle if I’m worried about another encounter with a coyote. I may want to look into that before I run in Colorado again!

Keep running safely!

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Julie Yip-Williams

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