During a weekend filled with more events in Plumas County than one can possibly attend, the Running with the Bears Marathon stood out as a gem. Athletes from across the country showed up to the Goss Ranch in Indian Valley to take on the Boston Marathon qualifier Aug. 17.
This was the second year Running with the Bears was a Boston Marathon qualifier. This year, like last, sold out in registration with a total of 334 runners. One hundred registered for the full marathon, 153 for the half-marathon and 81 for the 10K.
This is Mountain Circle Family Services’ third year holding the marathon, its biggest fundraiser each year. Money raised last weekend will go toward Mountain Circle’s Quest program, an outdoor adventure for youth in foster care.
A total of $20,000 was raised for the Quest program, with an additional $2,100 raised for the Boston One Fund, a fund that goes to families of the victims of the bombing at the last Boston Marathon.
Runners came to participate in one of three events: the full marathon, the half-marathon and the 10K. Along each course were aid stations manned by various groups from the community. The aid stations not only provided water and food, each also had a theme meant to lift runners’ spirits.
Along with the hospitality of the aid stations, runners enjoyed musicians playing at different points along the course. Inspirational signage was set up along the path that helped inspire the runners to keep going.
In the men’s division, Chuck Engle, from Coos Bay, Ore., finished the full marathon first with an impressive time of only two hours, 46 minutes, eight seconds. This was Engle’s 314th marathon. Engle set a new course record.
“This course is to the mountains as Big Sur is to the ocean,” commented Engle about the marathon. “It was gorgeous. This morning when the sun was coming up was just breathtaking.”
Chelsea Finn, from Boston, placed first among the full marathon’s women racers in 3:35:07.
Reed Breuer, from Sacramento, was the first man to come in from the half-marathon. Breuer finished the 13.1-mile course in just 1:22:04. Patricia Travela, from Sparks, Nev., was the first woman to finish, in 1:44:09.
Steve Whitt, out of Middletown, was the first of the 10K runners to cross the finish line. Whitt completed the course in 49:3. Courtney Wilcox, of Roseville, was the first woman to finish, coming in right behind Whitt at 51:59.
A good number of Plumas County locals competed in the 10K course and placed pretty high. Julianne Cook, from Greenville, placed first in the girls zero – 15 age group. Cromberg’s Gail Frazier came in first in women 50 – 59.
Once runners came in, they were greeted at the finish line with a much-needed bottle of water. Additionally, full and half-marathoners received medals of completion.
Spectators were kept busy with an assortment of attractions at the Goss Ranch. A hay bale maze, an iced dunk tank and vendors were just a few things set up to keep the crowd entertained.
The party didn’t stop once the runners passed the finish line. Participants had to change from their running shoes to their dancing shoes for the post-race luau-themed party held on site. A samba band, a pig roast and plenty of libations kept the party going late into the night.
Mountain Circle Family Services is already planning the 2014 Running with the Bears. Registration for the 2014 marathon is available now on the website, runningwiththebears.org.