Overall Rating
Overall Rating (23 Reviews)
4.9
(23 Ratings)(23 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.4
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
4.9
If you are looking for a super-fast, flat, easy course to set a personal record, you are probably in the wrong place. These courses have hills… lots of hills. If, however, you are looking for a great time on the trails, with beautiful scenery, awesome support and unique, high-quality shirts … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Danielle Ishihara
    daannisshh REPEAT RUNNER '18

    It was a tough trail run with a lot of hills for me, and the narrow path was really difficult. But the views made it really worth it. I also … MORE

    It was a tough trail run with a lot of hills for me, and the narrow path was really difficult. But the views made it really worth it. I also liked the difficulty of the course, it made it feel like an adventure. Like, running through the woods of Endor.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    roxy031 FIRST-TIMER '18

    So after running the Dirty Half Dozen Brazen event in July, I thought I was pretty tough, and decided for my next challenge I would run Bear Creek. I knew … MORE

    So after running the Dirty Half Dozen Brazen event in July, I thought I was pretty tough, and decided for my next challenge I would run Bear Creek. I knew it was hilly and it would be a challenge, but I did not know it would kick my butt so thoroughly!

    It was a hot day in Briones Regional Park, so that already made it challenging, but the 3100 ft of elevation is what really got me. You start out with some mild hills, running by some cows, and then the real hills start. Don’t even attempt to run up these hills, because I’m pretty sure it’s not possible (though based on some of the finishing times I saw, some people manage to do it, but I think they must be superhuman). The hills are TOUGH. And while some of the trail is shaded, a lot of it is not, which means you’re climbing those hills in direct sun and heat. I have asthma, which is bad enough on regular courses, and combination of the heat and the hills really kicked my butt. The uphills were so tough that my legs felt like jelly, so I was very cautious on the downhills, and only really trusted myself to run the flat parts (there aren’t many!). So I felt like I spent a lot of the course walking, which was totally not my goal—but to be honest, I felt like a winner just finishing this race! Around mile 4 I started to wonder if this would be my first DNF (that wasn’t due to injury). But I didn’t quit, and somehow I didn’t die.

    Due to the nature of trails, a few of the aid stations are pretty far apart, so definitely take your own water, and fuel if you need it. The aid stations were like heaven though – they had fruit, salty snacks, electrolyte drinks (once again I have to commend Brazen for using Ultima Replenisher! As someone who can’t have sugar, I LOVE that they use Ultima rather than one of the sugar-filled drinks!), cold water, and sometimes ice cold sponges that the volunteers will squeeze over your head, giving you a few minutes respite from the punishing heat.

    Once you make it to the end, after going through a single track trail where you have to cross a small creek (and don’t forget to high five the bear!), you finally reach the finish line, where the awesome medals and snacks await. Being a non-carb-eater, there weren’t many I could have, not to mention I was so hot and tired that I didn’t even feel like eating, but if I could have, I would have had an Its It and a massage—there was a vendor there with massage tables set up, which I should have taken advantage of—it probably would’ve made the next day hurt a little less!

    This is definitely a challenging event, and one that I’m glad I did, and proud that I finished (despite my worst half marathon finishing time EVER), but it might be a couple of years before I decide to attempt it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Ara Agopian
    macore5 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Great Race! Beautiful scenery and well organized. Briones Regional Park is a perfect location for a race. Organizers did a great job of the course, pretty difficult but gorgeous! MORE

    Great Race! Beautiful scenery and well organized. Briones Regional Park is a perfect location for a race. Organizers did a great job of the course, pretty difficult but gorgeous!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    amandasava FIRST-TIMER '17

    If you like lots of hills and lots of single track, you'll love this race! The course is challenging and beautiful - it just wasn't my day. As always, Brazen … MORE

    If you like lots of hills and lots of single track, you’ll love this race! The course is challenging and beautiful – it just wasn’t my day.

    As always, Brazen puts on a fantastic race. The course was well-marked and easy to follow (even if it isn’t easy to run). The aid stations were well positioned and well stocked. And of course, the t-shirts and medals were fantastic as were the It’s-Its!

    I’ve run the 5k and the 10k on this course and they are plenty challenging. This was my first time trying to tackle the half marathon course, and even though this year’s result was sub-par, I’ll be back to try again!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sweetpea1124 FIRST-TIMER '17

    I have run Rocky Ridge, I have ran 22 miles of My Diablo but this race kicked my butt!! I actually did very well until I ran out of water … MORE

    I have run Rocky Ridge, I have ran 22 miles of My Diablo but this race kicked my butt!! I actually did very well until I ran out of water at mile 8.5 (my bad planning). It was all exposed trail from this point out so by the time I got to AS 9.92 I was very dehydrated. Took forever to recoup but I did finish it!!
    Beautiful scenery!!! There are many times you are in shade but towards the second half a lot of exposed trail. We did have one creek crossing right at the end, FUN!
    Sam and Jasmin put on magnificent races. The biggest medals ever! I absolutely LOVE their tech shirts (even though female, I wear the men’s tech shirts. More shoulder room). ALWAYS creative designs for their medals and shirts AND they are different for EVERY race.
    This was a crazy hard race but the finish is always so much sweeter!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
    noneleft REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Second year running the half marathon course and it is one of my favorite races on the Brazen calendar. This race takes place at Briones Regional Park near Orinda. The … MORE

    Second year running the half marathon course and it is one of my favorite races on the Brazen calendar. This race takes place at Briones Regional Park near Orinda. The half course is a single loop with almost 3100 ft of elevation. The official course length is 13.1 miles, but most people measured around 13.5 miles. This trail race will not disappoint. It has many miles of tree covered trails and plenty of exposed sections that will have you looking forward to the next aid station for some cold refreshing water and Ultima Sports drink. Be sure to carry water. It does get hot in the open areas. Most of the trails are wide fire roads and some single track. When you climb to the high sections of the trails, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding area. The last 1.1 miles is a beautiful, tree-covered single track that rises in elevation. Note: there was plenty of poison oak on course this year, so be mindful of that if you run this race. Also, as you climb this last mile, you can hear race director Sam announcing the finishers. I remembered this from last year that you can hear him quite a bit out from the finish. Last year, I kept thinking, “Sam, where are you? How much further?!?!?” This year, I knew better and just kept going.
    There were four aid stations that were well stocked with water, Ultima sorts drink, Gu, sweet and salt snacks, and fruit. Aid station volunteers were very friendly and helpful. They were there ready to hand us what we needed.
    At the finish, we are handed our medals. There is plenty of finish line snacks and water. Don’t forget the famous It’s It ice cream sandwich that has become a Brazen tradition. All participants receive a cotton shirt for the 5k/10k or a tech shirt for the half marathon.
    For some insane reason this is definitely one of my favorite half marathons. If you are looking for an easy race, this is not it, but if you want a big challenge, give the Bear Creek half a shot.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Sarah Hoffman
    sarahkayhoffman FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my first trail race, but because of how amazing it was, it was just the first of many! In fact, this was such an awesome race that I … MORE

    This was my first trail race, but because of how amazing it was, it was just the first of many! In fact, this was such an awesome race that I already signed up for my next Brazen. The course is not easy, with many up and downhills, but it’s beautiful, peaceful and perfect! Plenty of food and hydration along the way, and best food spread post-race I’ve ever had!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Aug 18, 2017 at 12:01pm

    Yay, congrats Sarah! Awesome choice for your first trail race, though like you said not an easy one. And if you loved Bear Creek I'd definitely recommend Brazen's Ultra Half Series next year. In the meantime, if you're looking for your next trail challenge – emphasis on "challenge" – take a look at their upcoming Rocky Ridge Half in September. It's a beast, it may leave you talking to yourself, but you'll never feel more accomplished after running 13.1 miles. Keep running strong, and thanks for the excellent review!

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    tommy REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The AS were great, well stocked with water, hydration, snacks, fruit, ice water bucket and chairs if you want to rest a bit and don't want to sit on the … MORE

    The AS were great, well stocked with water, hydration, snacks, fruit, ice water bucket and chairs if you want to rest a bit and don’t want to sit on the ground. Course well marked with a few “course monitors” to make sure you make the right turns. The majority of the runners are there to enjoy the run and would stop to check on their fellow runners in need. And they have Its It ice sandwiches at the end!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    SamIam1972 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I love everything Brazen. That being said, this was another great race. Wonderful weather, great course (even though about half way through it feels like a roller coaster), fantastic aid … MORE

    I love everything Brazen. That being said, this was another great race. Wonderful weather, great course (even though about half way through it feels like a roller coaster), fantastic aid stations, amazing volunteers, and cool FUZZY bear medal!! Once at the top, the view from Benicia to Mt Diablo is spectacular. I wish I had stopped to take pics, but I was on track for a trail PR.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    kayjay1118 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Briones trails are home to me - ran cross country in high school and our home course was on the other side of Briones. I have completed the half (total … MORE

    Briones trails are home to me – ran cross country in high school and our home course was on the other side of Briones. I have completed the half (total butt-kicker) and 10k (challenging but definitely more approachable) – amazing views!!! And Brazen Racing puts on hands-down the best races – excellent organization, volunteers, aid stations, finish line, tees and medals – all are top-notch.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sgilbert9999 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    There were lots of hills, mostly fire road but also single track. It was tough but exceedingly beautiful. The weather was perfect. The aide stations were well stocked with fuel … MORE

    There were lots of hills, mostly fire road but also single track. It was tough but exceedingly beautiful. The weather was perfect. The aide stations were well stocked with fuel and very friendly volunteers. Whatever we needed, we had help getting it. My time was slower than expected but comparable to others. Briones Park is one of my favorite settings.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Just like Brazen says.... it's not nice to say you love "one child over the rest" or "one race over the others", but this is my favorite race. It is … MORE

    Just like Brazen says…. it’s not nice to say you love “one child over the rest” or “one race over the others”, but this is my favorite race. It is so quaint and intimate. The staging area is small and everyone is packed inside waiting for the race to begin. If this is your first Brazen race, I guarantee you’ll leave with 50 new friends. 🙂
    The course is difficult to say the least, but finishes with the most awesome half mile of downhill single track, before heading up a couple hundred meters (or yards) to the finish. Plenty of aid stations and lots of rolling hills.
    Come do this race and I promise you will hooked on Brazen!!
    Thanks Brazen staff and crew for another awesome weekend!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is one of my favorite races. It is out at Briones Regional Park. It has a really quaint start/finish area. The course is measured at 3,088 feet of elevation … MORE

    This is one of my favorite races. It is out at Briones Regional Park. It has a really quaint start/finish area. The course is measured at 3,088 feet of elevation gain, and you’ll love every bit of it. It can get a little warm, so I opted for the 7:00 am hiker start. This is one hour prior to the regular half marathon start.
    The coolest part of this race is the last one mile, which is nice downhill on a technical single track.

    You start on a small paved area but then jump on the Abrigo Valley Trail, where you’ll join the Briones Crest Trail just under mile 2. Around mile 3 you’ll hit the first Aid Station (with awesome volunteers!). You’ll then be on Lagoon Trail to Toyon Canyon Trail. Then you’ll join Orchard Trail to Alhambra Creek Trail. You’ll be on Spengler Trail, Valley Trail, and Crescent Ridge Trail. You’ll do a quick stint on Seaborg Trail, before the awesomest finish, down ~1 mile on the Bear Creek Trail, before a couple steps up to the finish area. Keep your eyes open for the inflatable bear, usually displaying a funny sign.

    Parking is $3, and I would recommend car pooling (for parking spaces, and for the environment) :). Also, the location can be a little confusing at first if you just use Google Maps. Easiest way to find the area is to put the intersection of Bear Creek Road and Briones Road in to your GPS.

    Hope to see you at next year’s Bear Creek race!

    #streaker111approved

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
    noneleft FIRST-TIMER '16

    First time running Bear Creek 1/2 marathon. This course was tough because of the heat. There is a hiker start that begins at 7am instead of the normal 8am start … MORE

    First time running Bear Creek 1/2 marathon. This course was tough because of the heat. There is a hiker start that begins at 7am instead of the normal 8am start for those that will take longer than four hours. I choose the regular 1/2 marathon start. The temp was about 90’s by 11am. This course is hilly with about 3,000 ft of climbing. Aid stations were well stocked with the usually, water , sports drink, sweet and salty snacks, Gu, and Coca Cola. I was a tad disappointed with AS4. They did not have any water out when a group of us came through close to 11am. I did have my own fluids, but I was hoping for some cool water from a cup. All other aid stations were up to the usual great standards. The majority of the half course was on fire roads. The last mile stretch finishes along a very well shaded single track. Watch out for the poison oak because it lines the last mile of the trail. All finishers receive a nice medal. 5k and 10k runners received a cotton t-shirt and half marathoners receive a tech T. By the time I had finished, most of the other runners had gone home, but there was still plenty of post race food and It’s It to be eaten. I place 3rd in my age group. Great race, but it was tough.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    lizcoxon REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Lots of hills!! This race has very little flat terrain...you're either going up, or downhill. Mostly uphill, and it's a great workout, especially if you're planning to run the 3 … MORE

    Lots of hills!! This race has very little flat terrain…you’re either going up, or downhill. Mostly uphill, and it’s a great workout, especially if you’re planning to run the 3 remaining Ultra Halfs in the Series. The weather today was hot, but only in the exposed sections, in the shade under tree cover it was a nice. Brazen put on a first class race, as always, and this race in particular is has a smaller, cozy vibe to it. It was a great day out on the trails!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Tessa FIRST-TIMER '14

    I had a great time with friends and family at this race. It was a tough race for me because of issues I was having out on the course. This … MORE

    I had a great time with friends and family at this race. It was a tough race for me because of issues I was having out on the course. This race had a nice variety in terrain, and I enjoy when there is change in terrain. I did enjoy the views, as well as the shaded areas and single track. There is some climbing in this one, but more of a slow increase in elevation. I did like the start/finish area as well. It was a nice place to hang out and relax with friends after the race. I will do this one again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Molly FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was my first trail race and I loved it. It's a challenging hilly course but on easy to run fire roads with some single track at the end. Great … MORE

    This was my first trail race and I loved it. It’s a challenging hilly course but on easy to run fire roads with some single track at the end. Great scenery, well planned aid stations, friendly volunteers. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at the half marathon next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    SelfieRunner REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This race was TOUGH! It’s about 1 million times harder for me to race trails than streets. I did the 10km and that was plenty. In the starting corral, I … MORE

    This race was TOUGH!
    It’s about 1 million times harder for me to race trails than streets. I did the 10km and that was plenty.
    In the starting corral, I decided I had two goals for this race – run the whole thing and finish in under 1 hour. Just as I had completed this mental handshake with my goals, the race announcer said “…take this advise, even the lead runners will walk the steeper parts of this course and you should do the same…” Well, there went that first goal and doubt was now creeping in about the sub-1 hour finish time too. Mental handshake number two – just do my best.
    The hills and switchbacks were rewarding with incredible views and plenty of practice for the pep talk/cheerleader part of your brain. Climbing them was tough, running down them was super fun, and as always, Brazen had great course support, super cool shirts (thank you for continuing with cotton shirts – tech shirts are sooooo unflattering!), with designs that are unparalleled in awesomeness. And the food spread was great too – though I was too gassed out to eat the It’s It. Still regret that.
    I recommend any race in the Brazen series to anyone.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Anji Fisher
    anji.fisher FIRST-TIMER '14

    This race has lots of ups and downs. Definitely need to pay attention to the course markers as it's easy to take the wrong way on this one. It was … MORE

    This race has lots of ups and downs. Definitely need to pay attention to the course markers as it’s easy to take the wrong way on this one. It was pretty warm when I ran it; the cool water sponges and popsicles were a life saver!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Lauren Frei
    laurenfrei REPEAT RUNNER '15

    another favorite race for those who like hills and have strong legs. lots of ups and downs and pay attention where you are going! lots of places to take wrong … MORE

    another favorite race for those who like hills and have strong legs. lots of ups and downs and pay attention where you are going! lots of places to take wrong turns. good course to make up ground on the downhills

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. Bear Creek Half Marathon, 10K & 5K