Running with the Bears gains recognition

James Wilson

  The Running with the Bears Marathon in Indian Valley out did its self last August, becoming a Boston Marathon qualifier and attracting runners from all over the country. In addition to the marathon, the event offered a half marathon and a 10K race.

  Now entering its third year, the race recently attracted national attention, being picked by Marathon and Beyond Magazine to be the featured race in the March edition of its e-zine (electronic edition).

  The magazine is one of the most read runner magazines in the country and normally features much larger events. Running with the Bears is one of the smallest marathons in the country with only 300 competitors.

  Most of the news coverage for races usually focuses on big city events,” said race coordinator Josie Litchfield, “So it’s a real honor to be recognized by this national magazine that we've done a good job. In a lot of ways though, Indian Valley sells itself. Who wouldn't want to run here?”

  Currently the marathon is already 60 percent full and filling up fast. The event attracts people from all over with its unique take on the traditional marathon.

  Runners are not only treated to the beautiful surroundings of Indian Valley, but are greeted along the course by musicians playing various types of music. Motivational signs along the course are mixed in with signs that feature interesting facts about bears.

  Runners are handed a cold beer right at the finish line and treated to a massage. It’s understandable why the race organizers’ motto is, “We don’t race by the same rules.”

  Logistically, this is a pretty tough race to put on, continued Litchfield. “There's definitely a reason you don't find Boston Qualifiers in small rural towns, but I think that's what makes it so unique. We built the type of race that we'd want to run in ourselves; where our kids can also have a good time, and where there's a cold beer and a great view at the finish line.”

  The race is put on by Mountain Circle Family Services, Inc., and proceeds from the event go to the organization to help develop healthy family relations for foster children.

  The event is set to take place August 17. Those interested in competing or volunteering can get more information at

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