Third annual Running of the Bears Aug 17

David Hollister, of Quincy, keeps running during the half-marathon option of the 2012 Running with the Bears event. This year’s event, set for Aug. 17, is already set with 300 runners competing in the Boston Marathon qualifier. Photo by James Wilson
Maddie Musante

  A nonprofit, community-based organization is gearing up to run with bears. Well, not literally. Mountain Circle Family Services is preparing to put on its third annual Running with the Bears marathon in Greenville on Saturday, Aug. 17.

  According to the race’s website, the event was named after its location — Plumas County — where there are “fewer people … more bears.”

  The event features a marathon, half-marathon and 10K. It is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and proceeds go to support children and youth in foster care. Also, for every $10,000 raised, the organization will donate $1,000 to the Boston One Fund, which supports victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

       “To my knowledge we are the smallest Boston qualifier in the U.S., and this is our third year,” said race director Josie Litchfield.

       All regular running spots are currently sold out for each event. However, the organization has opened a few more spots for charity division runners. Charity division runners are asked to raise or donate $300 in order to register.

       “We are expecting about 400 runners from all over the world,” Litchfield said.

       The full marathon begins at 7 a.m., the half-marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. and the 10K begins at 8:30 a.m. All races start and finish at Goss Ranch in Greenville. Race day check-in begins at 6 a.m. at the start/finish line.

       There are no time limits placed on runners. “We operate on ‘Plumas County Time,’ so we would never kick you off the course for being slow. All participants will have support until they cross the finish line,” the website reads.

       The marathon course is mostly flat and paved. Runners will enjoy the scenery as they pass by rivers, creeks and stunning views of the Indian and Genesee valleys.

       The half-marathon course is a mostly flat, single-loop course that runs through Indian Valley and boasts views of Mount Jura.

       The 10K course is flat and paved and passes by Lights Creek, providing runners with views of classic valley ranches, including the Diamond Buffalo Ranch.

       Aid stations will be located about every 2.5 miles along each course and will be stocked with water, hydration drinks, snacks, dog treats and first-aid supplies. These aid stations are stepping it up a notch. Each one is managed by a different community group and will be competing in an aid station challenge to win $900 in cash prizes. Awards will be given to aid stations for having the best theme, best food and best spirit. The runners will be the judges.

       After the race, at 5 p.m., there will be a luau pig roast at the Goss Ranch finish line. The luau will feature a fully catered dinner of barbecue or vegetarian food, live samba music, a hay bale maze, petting zoo, cow pie bingo, a full bar and much more. There is a fee to attend the luau. Children under 14, as well as runners who raise $300 or more, get in free.

       Running with the Bears has been featured in Competitor magazine as a must-do race and also in Marathon and Beyond magazine.

For more information, visit or email Litchfield at

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