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Safety is in the hands of Plumas Amateur Radio Club members Jeff Titcomb of Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce, Wayne Dannemiller, Lucas Giese and Bill Whitcher. Photos by Mari Erin Roth

No bears on the course for this year’s marathon

Mountain Circle Running with the Bears hosted 48 marathon runners and 378 overall participants.

Running with the Bears is a fundraiser to benefit foster children and is hosted by Mountain Circle Family Services (MCFS), a nonprofit foster care and adoption agency.

Since 1986, Mountain Circle has supported over 3,500 foster children and families in their journey to a healthier and happier future. Building trusting relationships with children, who may have lost faith in everyone who was supposed to keep them safe, is the agency’s mission.

“Our staff acts as role models and advocates for these displaced children,” said Director Dr. Shauna Rossington. “The funds raised allow us to provide emotional support, financial assistance and some fun activities for these children whose lives have been severely disrupted.”

The staff and team at MCFS work long hours to ensure foster children have not just a home, but also a permanent home building long-lasting relationships. “All of our participants matter because they have become a part of the circle of life for foster children and youth,” said MCFS Marketing and Events Coordinator Emily Learn. “Their contributions, especially from our charity runners, allow the agency to support foster families and to connect to the children in need.”

In 2019, 38 runners raised $22,000 for Mountain Circle’s foster care programs. This year an anonymous donor matched dollar for dollar, raising the total to $44,000.

Specifically, these funds support the PowderQuest leadership adventure program for older foster teens, and for items such as summer camp, school supplies and Christmas gifts.

“Each year we are humbled and amazed by the level of support and enthusiasm our charity runner’s display,” said Learn. This year a total of approximately 400 runners, from ages 12 to 80, competed in the marathon, half-marathon and 10K.

The overall female winner of the 10K was Nuria Duran, 44, finishing in 45:30.4. The overall male winner of the 10K was Justin Maclel, 12, finishing in 48:51.7. The overall winner of the half-marathon male was Brian Marks, 43, with a finishing time of 1:40:00.2 and the overall female winner was Donna Collignon, 62, finishing at 1:40:00.9.

The overall male winner for the marathon was Benjamin Walker, 32, finishing at 2:59:37.7. “Benjamin was quite an inspiration and showed his dedication as he limped across the finish line, just under three hours,” said Learn. The overall female winner for the marathon was Mary Smith, 37 in 3:36:00.1.

Gillian Oakes is from Pullman, Washington. “I ran this marathon on my way down to my freshman year of college at UC Berkeley. I am 19 years old and I won the 16-29 age group,” said Oakes after winning her first official marathon.

A record number of 76 dogs participated in the 2019 run.

Themed aid stations are a big highlight every 4 miles and are organized by different community groups. Each aid station is competing to earn the vote of the runners in the areas of best spirit, best theme, and best food. The prize is $1,000 in each category.

The 2019 winning aid station for best snack was the Rocklin’ Sole Sisters. Indian Valley Academy won the best spirit award and prize money, and Running is Our Thang won for best theme.

Registration is already open for the 2020 Running with the Bears Marathon that takes place Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. To register, visit RunningwiththeBears.org and MountainCircle.org.

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