Coyote bites won't keep Whitehorse woman off city trails

A coyote nipped at Erin Spiewak's legs while she was running on a city trail earlier this week, but she says that hasn't deterred her from running, though she will start carrying bear spray.

'All of a sudden he or she was at my heels and I just started to run,' Erin Spiewak says

A Whitehorse woman says a close call with a coyote won't keep her from jogging the city's wilderness trails. (David Komljenovic)

A Whitehorse woman who was bitten by a coyote on one of the city's trails says she'll get over the incident, but she is going to start carrying bear spray.

Erin Spiewak was jogging down the McIntyre Creek trail on her way downtown Monday when she came upon the coyote. She said she'd been pursued by foxes before and thought the animal would leave her alone. But suddenly the coyote was behind her, nipping at her legs.

The trail linking Porter Creek and Takhini where Spiewak was nipped by the coyote. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"All of a sudden he or she was at my heels and I just started to run, faster than I was running, and screaming as loud as I could: 'Leave me alone, leave me alone! I'm not going to hurt you,'" she said.

Spiewak said the animal bit her three times on the leg.

"I could feel the burning sensation but the only thing on my mind was 'I've got to get away,'" she said. 

"I know you're supposed to stop and fight but it was dark out, I'm a small person and I don't think I would have done anything different. I thought if I kept moving it wouldn't be able to get a good grasp on me."

Spiewak said the bites were just superficial. She's not planning to change her routine, and spoke to CBC from the trail near where the incident took place.

"We live in a wilderness city and I love running, I love my commute to work."

Spiewak said she'll carry bear spray from now on and maybe even hiking poles. Whitehorse conservation officers said that's good advice for all trail hikers.

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