“This started off as just another race, but now it is a weekend get away with friends and family.”
“This was my first year, it was so amazing! We are already planning for next year!!”
“A fun, well-organized, race for a great cause in a beautiful place with no crowds and awesome people!”
“This is a great marathon! Beautiful scenery, well organized, creative waters stops, and supportive staff!”
“Grade: A++++ Do this race. Wherever you are in the country, world. This wasn’t just a race, this was an experience.”
“Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for all that you did for us runners, and all that you do each and every day for foster children.”
“It allows me to fully appreciate that I am able to do this thing called running, even if I will never take 1st or qualify for Boston. Even turtles have their moment!”
“I really like this race because it is small, in a rural setting, and it all goes to benefit foster kids.”
Running with the Bears Reviews & Testimonials
Dashing Dad Review
Last year I was a charity runner for Running with the Bears marathon, and I had such a great time (and a PR) that I decided to do it again in 2015. I had originally signed up for the half marathon, and signed the Dashing Wife and Dashing Son up for the 10k, but I realized that, with my running schedule, I should do the full marathon to keep my miles up.
I really like this race because it is small, in a rural setting, and it all goes to benefit foster kids. The money raised by charity runners goes to their Powder Quest program (and other things), which takes the foster kids up to a ski resort in Lake Tahoe to teach them to ski or snowboard. It gives these kids a chance to forget their problems and, as former participant said, focus only on not breaking their neck heading down the mountain.
2015 Race Review
By “Addicted to Asphalt” Melanie
So I started my running “career” in 2011 to honor someone I knew who took his own life. After 30+ years of hating the idea of running, even a block down the street, I became involved with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and ran the Tinkerbell Half marathon while raising money for this great charity. What I found is that I came to love running because it was for something outside of myself. My running has evolved and I’ve grown to love it for me but the race I ran this weekend reminded me of why I started running initially. It allows me to fully appreciate that I am able to do this thing calling running, even if I will never take 1st or qualify for Boston. Even turtles have their moment! And that’s what I love about Running with the Bears Half Marathon in Greenville, CA. Everyone is celebrated, from the winners to those last runners crossing the finish line. And what I find the most amazing is that all the proceeds from this race go to Mountain Circle Family Services, which helps foster children in the area. I’ve done many races but none that 100% of the proceeds benefit a charity or foundation.
From Amanda H., Participant
To the Entire Running With The Bears Staff and Volunteers, THANK YOU! Thank you so incredibly much for all that you did to make the Running With The Bears weekend one of the most enjoyable times of my life. I am so grateful for the amazing memories I have, the new friendships I developed and the indescribable time I had throughout the Running With The Bears weekend—none of which would have been possible without your selfless dedication and the countless hours that went into planning such a successful event. I have run numerous races before–both long races and short races; races just for fun, and races that are serious; races in big cities and races in small cities; but of all the races I have ever run, no race has ever impacted me like Running With The Bears.
Running With The Bears is not just a race; it is a homecoming to a town I never knew existed before; it is a warm hug from complete strangers. I felt so loved by people I had never met before. I arrived as just another runner and left as a member of a family—determined to return again. While I was running the 10K race, I was amazed at the outpouring of passion, love and support of all the race staff, volunteers and other runners. For once I did not feel like just a face among the crowd, lost in a sea of people. I felt special. I felt unique. I felt cared for and appreciated. I felt like I actually had potential. I knew that there amongst my new friends, I had the ability to be successful. The strength and love of everyone involved in RWTB propelled me to push myself harder than I ever had before. I even ran my best time.
As I stood on the podium and placed a third-place medal around my neck, I could not fight back the tears…and then it hit me—this is what Mountain Circle does for foster children every single day. They give hopeless children strength and love, they welcome strangers as new family, they provide in the tumultuous times, and give children a chance to have a successful future. The spirit of the Running With The Bears race is the very spirit of Mountain Circle: a spirit of overwhelming love, support, gratitude and hope. Who knew how much a trip to the middle of nowhere would mean to me? Who knew how much it means every day to countless kids and teens who are in need? I certainly did not know. But now that I do, there is no way I wouldn’t want to get more involved—after all, we are family now! I cannot wait to return in 2015 as a charity runner and push myself to overcome the wonderful challenge that is running 26.2 miles. I had such an amazing weekend meeting new people, getting to know people’s unique stories, running through the most beautiful scenic race route, and dancing freely all night on a makeshift dance floor on someone’s lawn.
Everything about the Running With The Bears weekend was perfect. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for all that you did for us runners, and all that you do each and every day for foster children. The work you do has lasting effects, it is meaningful and honorable. May you truly know how appreciated and wonderful you are!
Amanda V. Hawkins aka…the woman who gave you the best karaoke version of “Don’t Stop Believing”, ever!
Running with the Bears Race
Posted by Valerie M.
It’s been nearly a week since race day and I’ve been trying to put into words what an amazing race/weekend this truly was. I know my words won’t do it justice but I’ll try. I’m so thankful for the experience put on by the running with the bears team and Mountain Circle. I’m also thankful to even being writing a race recap since I’m now officially into month two of my treatment for chronic lyme disease.
Race Prep: We signed up for this race back in December. I believe we had signed up the moment it opened up as it is a very small race. I think about 300 people plus the charity runners. This all benefits Mountain Circle. They are a non profit that helps foster children and adoption. What better then not only to help children but to build families? Family is really what matters, the love that family brings. It had been on our radar since the summer before when my husband announced “i’m going to run with bears”. Okay I guess I’m down, why not. Must. Feed. Race. Addiction. Then life happens, and then my lyme diagnosis. I got cleared by my doctor and we decided to go forward with the race. It’s always nice to get out of the desert. So we contacted Josie the race director and she put us in contact with Amanda who looked for lodging for us. How nice is that? When do you ever have race officials helping you with your stay? We decided with two dogs and our toddler of terror (just kidding:) we would stay at Copper Creek Camp. It is as summer camp during the week.
Our Accommodations: We stayed in a little cabin. It was cute, rustic. There was enough room for the whole gang. A little chilly a night, but once we figured out the sleepwear and sleeping bags we were cozy. Talk about being in nature. There was a huge buck in the middle of the soccer field as we pulled in, a duck pond, a horse barn. This would be a great place for a group of friends. My only regret is not bring a hot pot to make coffee.
Packet Pick up/Pasta Dinner: Despite being a very small race, this was the most organized race hands down. Picking up our goodies and swag bag was a breeze. We then settled in for our pasta dinner. This also benefited Mountain Circle, who also takes the foster children on trips such as the snowboarding trip shown in the race video. There was also a Brooks pop up shop. I purchased a hat with the bears logo and a couple of temporary bear paw tattoos. I may have one still on my leg (shh….). Both the race director and Shauna (Director of Mountain Circle) made it a point to say hello and welcome us to the race. That’s just the feel of this race, you are a part of something. You are welcomed to this community with open arms. We finished dinner and let our little guy Ryan play on the playground.
Starting Line: The Marathon ( which my husband was running) started at 6:30, half marathon at 7 and the 10k (which myself and my motely crew of Chester, Winnie and Ryan) started at 8 so I had time to kill. We parked in a cow pasture, as fog was hugging the meadow and the cows were mooing, temps climbing into the mid -40s. I had to pinch myself, did I die and go to Heaven?? Plumas County is simply beautiful. I felt this way in Hawaii. Living in the desert makes you so appreciative. Anyway Chris took off and I got us situated. It was hot mess express as I tried to put on costumes. (We were attempting a spin of Goldilocks and the three bears. ) The race started at someone’s picturesque farm house. The grounds were set up with food, a sweat check, bouncy house and porta potties….well how was I going to use those?? As I found a post to tie the dogs two, the next door neighbor offered to watch my crew for me. Seriously? These people were just so sweet.[golidi locks]Goldilocks[The marathoners take off]The marathoners take off
The Course: From a postcard, really. I’ve never seen a place like this. I was nervous. Since my diagnosis my longest run had been about 3 miles. I hoped for muscle memory, it was a stretch but maybe…My cranky toddler feel asleep the first mile in. I had a deer cross our path about mile 2. I had no desire for music, didn’t look at my watch other than to check my heart rate. I was at peace for 6.2 whole miles. One of my symptoms of Lyme is anxiety. I had none here, so thank you Bears. A moving meditation of pastures, horses, shaded roads, goats, sheep. The other runners on the course were the friendliest enthusiastic bunch I had ever met. It was an out and back course, with a few rolling hills (nothing I couldn’t handle with a stroller). We cheered for each other, smiled, waved… I spent the rest of the course when Ryan woke up chatting with him about the animals, stopping for doggie potty breaks, just being.
Aid Stations: The half and full marathon get to experience a bunch where the people dress up in themes as a fundraising contest. We had a couple that were amazing. At the turn around point they had water, a trough for the dogs to cool off in, ultima (an electrolyte) , cut up water melon that Chester snacked on. Some races allow dogs. This race was truly dog-friendly. My last aid station before the finish was a one stop shop. Water for me, cut up bananas for my son and a doggie water bowl for the pooches.
The Finish: I have never seen such a genuine enthusiastic race crew. The literally ran up the up hill finish with you, cheering their heads off. (the did this for hours including for the bad as$ runner who lost a significant amount of weight and rocked her first marathon finishing in about ten hours). You are an inspiration. This course has no time limits and is accessible to everyone. We finished and picked a cool spot under then tents and enjoyed our goodies (gluten free chips, oranges, water, salty nut crunches ). The dog finishers also got these cute little packages. [IMG_5145] My husband finished shortly after coming in 4th overall in the marathon. Not a PR for him but snagged second in his age group. They got a medal for that as well as prizes (he got a hat and water bottle).
Post Race: We spent a lot of time there, talking to other runners. My husband had spent about 20 miles chatting with another runner. I hope some day the vegan conversations will sleep in…we’ll see. I shared a diaper with a gal that ran the 10k, got some wipes from another mother, this race was a family. Ryan got some ice cream. Chris had his post-race beer. A vegan truck arrived. The photo booth from the dinner was back. We eventually left to rest and would return there later for the hoedown.
The hoedown: This was the after party. It started at 5. We had dinner, drinks, listened to live music. There were raffles and a turkey poop bingo, a makeshift dance floor. It did not feel like California. At least the California I’ve gotten to know over the last two years. There was country music playing, all around good cheer, folks saying congrats. I had the race director come chat, relaying a conversation with a Mountain Circle staff where the term “super mom” was used to describe me. This coming from someone who has a full house of biological and children brought into her home. I can’t tell you what that meant to me, as someone with Lyme disease on my bad days feels like a failure as a mother. Those days when I have no energy and we watch Cars over and over and maybe color. My experience isn’t unique though. Everyone was made to feel special and a part of this great cause, great race, great organization. You were not just a receipt, people cared. As I sat there with my family sipping a glass of wine (that another runner bought of course) I marveled at this experience, enjoyed it.
Do this race. Wherever you are in the country, world. As I mentioned before, we have a bit of a race addiction so we’ve done a few, big small, long short, color runs…the gamut. This wasn’t just a race, this was an experience. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming: from other runners, race officials, the women who runs the health store we made sure to open her door so I could carry out my belongings, just everyone. This is the best of the best. We’re due to move next year so I don’t know if we’ll be back then, but rest assured we’ll be back. As soon as I kick this lyme to the curb I can say I’d love to be a charity runner myself. I always said I needed my first marathon to be special. I can’t imagine anything more special than Running with the Bears. Here’s to hoping.