The location

The location

When Mountain Circle Family Services decided to direct a Boston Qualifying marathon, half marathon and 10K, Running with the Bears was born. So much time and effort goes into directing a race.  Enough that most people never want to take on the myriad of challenges.  One challenge??  The start/finish line.  That can be enough a hassle on it’s own but Mountain Circle wanted to go the extra distance.  We wanted a race with no time limit on finishing.  To add even more??  Put on a Hoedown with a band, dance floor, tables, chairs, roasted pigs, a bar, hula-hoop contest, hay maze, bounce house, petting zoo, Polar Plunge, award ceremony, and an enormous spread of food. We needed a location which could accommodate 300-500 people, and there is no parking lot in Greenville that’s big enough for that many cars. Hmmm… Then, Mountain Circle had a board meeting and one of our board members said, “How about at my house?”

Kevin and Shalyn

Kevin and Shalyn

Shalyn and Kevin Goss were up to the challenge.  When they were asked to host the race, Shalyn said she always loves a good party, so why not??  They love hosting large parties and this one is special because not only is it for charity, it is for a local charity that benefits families and children within their community.

Hula-hoop contest

Hula-hoop contest

 

The Goss’ both volunteer for other organizations, most benefiting children since they come first in their lives.  The community of Greenville gave both of them support when they were growing up, so now they feel privileged to finally give back.

Petting zoo

Petting zoo

They lead a very healthy lifestyle and making sure children understand the importance of exercise and eating healthy is a top priority.  Kevin ran in high school and when he takes the chance to run now, it helps focus his mind.  Kevin and Shalyn know how difficult it is as adults to make the time to maintain fitness and put yourself and your health first.  Shalyn enjoys walking and doesn’t let injuries from sports in high school deter her fitness now.  Their daughter, Madeline has run the 10K and their 8 year old son, Carson runs constantly so they know it’s in his future.

The after party

The after party

The third weekend in August is stressful no matter how prepared they know they are.  The day starts far before the sun rises.  A few pots of coffee later and the race is under way, the pigs are prepped for roasting and by early afternoon, they are taking a moment to catch their breath before the party starts.  The amount of support from the volunteers and staff of Mountain Circle makes the day go smoothly, but when you host an event this big, it almost always feels like there can’t be enough hands to accomplish it all.

The pig roast begins

The pig roast begins

The pig roast is a novelty for people to see.  The pigs get prepped with garlic, apple juice, fresh herbs, onions and even sausages depending on the mood of the guys prepping.  The BBQ’s get started early to let the wood burn down to coals and then the pigs get to roasting.  The smell is amazing as they slow cook on the spits all day.  The idea of roasting pigs started when Kevin and Shalyn had a luau to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.  Than night they actually cooked a pig in the ground.  They changed to spits the next year because ground roasting is a risky business!! The roasted pigs are just a side dish for the RWTB after party and the Genesee Store caters the event with vegan and vegetarian dishes as well.

Kevin and crew prepping a pig

Kevin and crew prepping a pig

Even with Mountain Circle staff and volunteers, the Hoedown is a lot of time and effort.  The pig is just part of what gets served at the Bears after party.  Add a band, a dance floor, a bar, a petting zoo, some hula-hoops, some games involving turkeys and bingo and a lot of happy people who have completed another race and it’s a very good time.

Jennifer - the author and Kevin on race day.

Jennifer – the author and Kevin on race day.