Marathon Runner Describes Traumatic Bear Attack Within Miles of Finish Line

VIDEO: Marathon Runner Describes Details of Bear AttackPlayABCNews.com
WATCH Marathon Runner Describes Details of Bear Attack

A bear confronted a marathoner Saturday just a few miles short of the finish line.

Officials say a female black bear attacked Karen Williams in the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico after the woman unintentionally startled the mother bear and her three cubs.

Williams suffered several bites and scratches and sustained non-life-threatening injuries to her head, neck and upper body.

"She was ripping at my upper arms. I had my hands over the head and I screamed because that hurt," Williams told ABC News.

She added that the bear didn't like her screaming so "she gave me a whack on the side of the head with her left paw."

The bear then bit Williams' neck and "started shaking me," Williams recalled. Realizing that her only hope for survival was to play dead until the bear left, she said, "I pretended I was dead and she kept glancing over at me."

About 30 minutes after the attack, Williams was discovered by fellow runners and airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital with serious injuries.

William's described her facial injury, saying "I have a nice chunk out of my eyebrow that I will probably have to get a bit of plastic surgery on."

Doctors have said Williams will make a full recovery.

Because the bear attacked a person, state law requires the bear to be euthanized and tested for rabies. The bear's cubs will be sent to a wildlife refuge.