It takes considerable time and energy to create a good event that benefits a lot of people, but when done right, the rewards are substantial for everyone involved.
The Running with the Bears Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, which will be held in Indian Valley Aug. 18, is a great example of how a well-planned event can raise funds for a good cause, bring money into the county and provide a memorable experience for participants.
Using last year’s inaugural Mountain Circle Marathon as a springboard, this year’s renamed event is showing tremendous growth, spurred on by professionalism and legitimacy. In just its second year, the race has been certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier, so times from Running with the Bears can be used to qualify for any other marathon requiring qualification.
To have the course certified, a professional measurer came out and spent four days on his bicycle, repeatedly riding the roads an marking every mile. “It’s important for runners to have a standard distance,” said race director Josie Litchfield. “It’s exact within a couple inches.”Not only will the distances be exact, but so will the times. All the participants will have a digital timing chip attached to their shoe.
Racers will also receive goodie bags filled with locally made products, and there will be beer at the finish line from local brewery Undercover Aleworks.
Another draw of the race will be themed aid stations every 2.5 miles, managed by different community groups competing for $1,000 in cash prizes. Awards will be given for best theme, best food and best spirit, and runners will be the judges. The evening before the race, the Indian Valley Recreation and Parks District will hold a pasta feed fundraiser at the Indian Valley Community Center The race was capped at 300 runners this year to preserve the quality of the event. “We decided early to grow slowly,” said Litchfield. “Hopefully next year we’ll bump it up to 500." With 100 participants already registered, the race will probably sell out by early summer, so Litchfield encourages locals to sign up now.
Registration for the 10K is $20, for the half marathon is $45 and for the marathon is $65, if received before Aug. 4.
All proceeds from the event will go to Mountain Circle Family Services, a non-profit organization committed to benefiting foster children.
Participants can become individual sponsors through First Giving. All runners who raise more than $300 will have their entry fee waived.
For more information, visit runningwiththebears.org, or call (530) 284-7007.