The trail runner who made headlines nationwide after killing a mountain lion with his bare hands has revealed himself to be 31-year-old Travis Kauffman from Colorado.
Kauffman told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that he moved to Fort Collins from Arkansas about five years ago, and has enjoyed getting into outdoor activities like mountain biking and skiing. He got into trail running about a year ago.
He was running along when he heard something behind him. He said he turned, and the mountain lion attacked, latching onto his wrist.
Kauffman described the rest of the battle against the cat as a "wrestling match." He said his knowledge as a self-described "cat dad" helped him think of how to fight.
"Because I'm a recent cat owner, I know that the back claws are pretty dangerous when it comes down to an attack," Kauffman told KUNC. "And I was pretty worried about its claws just sinking into my my stomach and groin area."
So, Kauffman pinned the cat's back legs down. He also tried to hit it with sticks and rocks. But what finally killed the animal, he said, was when he was able to get over the cat and step on its neck, suffocating it.
Once the animal was dead, he got out of there as fast as he could. He estimated the whole thing lasted about 10 minutes.
“I was on a crazy fear high," he said.
Kauffman ran into a few other people on the trail, who drove him to the hospital and helped him get his car. Once he got to the hospital he called his girlfriend, Annie Bierbower, who said at the press conference she was in a meeting when she got the news and immediately raced to the hospital.
“I was happy that he had all his parts," she said.
Although Kauffman suffered puncture marks and required stitches on his wrist and face, he said he doesn't have any long-term damage to his mobility. In fact, he's already gone on "a few" runs, though he said "not over 10 miles."
And the experience hasn't turned Kauffman off trail running. In fact, he told reporters he is still planning on doing the Dirty 30.
“I'm not deterred by running in the mountains again," he said.
His biggest piece of advice for other runners, he said, was not to wear earbuds while out on the trails. He said he wouldn't have heard the mountain lion if he had earbuds in.
As for his new "badass" reputation online, he said "the hardest part is I'll never be able to live up to my reputation." He said he felt like Chuck Norris would have done it better.
“Chuck would have come out without a scratch," he said.