Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
4.5
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4.3
Running with the Bears is a uniquely rural experience; there are no long bathrooms lines or traffic – the only distractions might be the pair of mating hawks at Mile 7 (and some more at miles 10 and 12…). What you get are good ol’ fashioned goody bags and a … MORE
Local Weather (Aug 17)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 90 93 96 96 89
L (°F) 57 60 61 51 50
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Recent reviews

    ucd76 FIRST-TIMER '13

    Beautiful course and awesome small town feel. Great cause and passionate organizers. The luau was great fun afterwards. I also enjoyed the Saturday start. That said, this run is at … MORE

    Beautiful course and awesome small town feel. Great cause and passionate organizers. The luau was great fun afterwards. I also enjoyed the Saturday start. That said, this run is at 3,500 feet. It’s a BQ’r but near impossible for someone from sea level. Pretty course that winds around high country meadow. Be ready for the hills at 23. Accomodations can be interesting. This is of the beaten path. The

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    hollybluedog FIRST-TIMER '18

    Every aspect of this race is great. After signing up you can join their Facebook Virtual training page. As the race gets closer they send out a lot of informational … MORE

    Every aspect of this race is great. After signing up you can join their Facebook Virtual training page. As the race gets closer they send out a lot of informational emails, along with posting on their page and the virtual training page. The night before the race they have packet pick-up and a pasta dinner and a bar that served delicious margaritas! At the race start line (that is a few miles from the center where the packet pick up and dinners are) they have their pop up store to get additional memoriablia (hats, shirts, sweatshirts, cups, stickers, etc). After you finish there is an ice soak, massages, free beer, hot dogs to purchase. They also had a shade cover with blankets and pillows laid out so you can sit, stretch, relax and cheer on the rest of the runners coming in.

    I did not bring my dog this year, but I’m coming back next year with him as every aid station had a small kiddie pool for the dogs to lay in or drink from, and dog treats to keep them fueled and ready to keep going. The road is mellow, some rolling hills, a few false flats, and some fun gentle down hill spots. The elevation is at the tipping point of just over 3k so can have some effect especially if you have not been doing any hill or elevation training. I have trouble running in high elevation but only felt mild effects on this race course. It is not a closed course so you do need to pay attention to traffic (I saw less than a dozen) and move to let them pass.

    After the race is over there is a few hours before the dinner party, so try to find someplace close by to stay (their web site gives some great ideas). This year because I was not staying the night after the race, I hung out at the finish line until the last bus back to the parking area. Then I drove a mile down the road to a public campground and used their coin showers to shower and change. After the shower even though it was warm, I was parked in the shade and with a light cool breeze I was able to lay in the back of my car and take a nap so I was ready for the dinner at 5 and the drive back home after.

    This race is more than a race, it raises funds for a cause I believe deeply in, and with all the excitement of the race coordinators, volunteers and participants it’s a 2 day party. I experienced the added bonus and being what they called a “Charity Runner” They helped me set up my donation page and wrote an article that I could post about why I was asking for donations. When I met my goal they had AMAZING swag that was only available to “Charity Runners”, which made me feel super special (and made me want to fund raise again)

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Man, this was tough! The elevation was a big challenge for me and there was a solid 13 miles of rolling hills. Not SF hills by any means, but they … MORE

    Man, this was tough! The elevation was a big challenge for me and there was a solid 13 miles of rolling hills. Not SF hills by any means, but they were there and occasionally cambered. I trained at sea level and on flat courses, so my body was hurting. Also, there isn’t anywhere to eat beforehand, so pack your breakfast. I was totally unprepared, but the view was phenomenal! Everyone was very nice and laid back. I would love to run it again, if I can find a suitable way to train for elevation at sea level haha…

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Bettejh1 FIRST-TIMER '14

    This race is the most emotionally satisfying race I've ever attended. The race proceeds benefit foster kids in the northern part of CA. The organizers and the entire surrounding community … MORE

    This race is the most emotionally satisfying race I’ve ever attended. The race proceeds benefit foster kids in the northern part of CA. The organizers and the entire surrounding community are involved, and it shows. Most of the events surrounding the race itself feel as if they are family gatherings. From the pre-race spaghetti dinner to the many decorated and heavily staffed aid stations (there is a competition for the best aid station and they are serious about this! Great fun!) to the after party pig roast, the folks from all the surrounding towns make you feel welcome.
    The course is “in the country” and runs through a rural setting, starting out with cows to your left and leading into some back roads, a few busier areas (busier being relative here), and plenty of private space as this race is capped, the year I ran it at 300. (It may be larger now but is full for 2018.) There are undulating hills, nothing tough in the half.
    The weather is a factor: it was a chilly 45 or so to start, but the sun came up strong and it was in the low 70s by the finish; humidity was very low.
    At the end there was a huge trough of ice and water for your bare feet, beer, food. Your goodie bag includes bear bells, and while I did not see any bears, it is bear country. This was my first half marathon first-place age group win which made it more memorable.
    The only difficulty is the logistics getting to Greenville, or Taylorsville. Lodging very near the race was scarce. My hotel had no AC and it was quite warm the night we stayed. There are campsites and while I do camp, I prefer not to rough it the night before a race, so book your lodging early. It is also a haul from anywhere. We flew into Sacramento and it was still a couple (3?) hours drive north; not an easy place to find, but once you are there it is a stunning place to spend a weekend.
    Between the scenery, people, cause and course, this is high on my recommendation list. Oh, it is a Boston Qualifier as well.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Solupia REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This is my second time running Running With The Bear Marathon. It is by far one of my favorites for many reasons. Why not let me convince you to become … MORE

    This is my second time running Running With The Bear Marathon. It is by far one of my favorites for many reasons. Why not let me convince you to become part of this amazing race.

    1) Running For a Cause
    Running With The Bear Marathon is a Charity Run, operated by Mountain Circle, a non-profit organization for foster care program. People can become charity runner by raising a minimum of $600. All donations helps funding foster care programs in the Central Valley and Sierras of California and western Nevada.

    2) Theatrical Theme
    Being part of a charity run, all the aid stations are of course fun by volunteers from the community. In fact, they are in for a contest to raise fund for their own cause. Runners get to vote for the Best Theme and Best Spirit aid stations. And of course, the volunteers won’t disappoint you by putting their best on to cheer you on along the course. This is I saw Pirates, Road Safety Workers, Alice in the Wonderland and 20s Gangster along the course. Never have a dull moment with this race.

    3) Real Food for Fueling
    Unlike most road races, instead of giving you energy chews and gels, you have fruits and nuts along the course. Depending on the aid station, you may even find grilled cheese toasted sandwich, baked potatoes and scramble eggs. I don’t know about you, but that saved my race. I had a rough nutrition deficit on my pre-race day. I normally don’t eat breakfast. And for lunch, I was go to get off work early so I can eat and drive to the venue. But instead, I got off work 3 hours late and missed lunch because I was running late for the pre-race dinner. Wasted some time in the rush hour traffic, I missed the pre-race dinner and was unable to grab my bib number until the next morning. Since the race is hosted in a small town, all the restaurant closed after 8pm. I ended up going to bed with an empty stomach. And you bet I was not planning for a good race to start with. However, those aid stations at this race surely know how to fuel you up. I stopped at every aid station to savor their “chef” specialties. The community support and the type of aid stations they have reminds me of the ultra running community on the trail. Gotta love it.

    4) BQ certified
    This race is one of the Boston Qualifying races, which means you can use it as a ticket to Boston Marathon. The course is relatively flat with minor rolling hills. It may just be the course to set your PR. There may be minor setback with running at 3000s ft above sea level if you are from the sea level and have limited training.

    5) Small Race Big Price
    Being a race of only 600 max registrants (across all race categories), the race director works hard to gather multiple goodies from a variety of sponsors. Therefore, again this year I find myself leaving with a grocery full goodies bag. Not only that, because the race is such small, most people have a great chance for Top 3 age group winner medals.

    5) Run Hard Party Hard
    After the run, you get 10min free complementary massage. For those who are daring, we have a ice bath tub for you to plunge in to shock your system. At the post-race party dinner, we had cocktails, dress up theme, turkey pie bingo, silent raffle ticket auction and human Foosball.

    6) Unpredictable
    Being in the bear country, nothing is for certain. For instance, this year there was sighting of bear by a couple of 10k runners during the race. How fitting it is for the name of the race. In addition, we had a half marathon runner witnessed the miraculous moment of goat giving birth.

    Running With The Bear is always such lively and full of positive spirits. I would highly recommend anyone to experience it themselves.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 04, 2017 at 11:54pm

    A goat giving birth?? Pretty sure that would win "Best race story" in any setting! Love reading your reviews Solomon, your approach to racing is so much more spontaneous than… MORE

    A goat giving birth?? Pretty sure that would win "Best race story" in any setting! Love reading your reviews Solomon, your approach to racing is so much more spontaneous than other runners I know. And if you have to miss the pre-race dinner, this sounds like the perfect race to do it. Plus, any race that has an ice bath at the finish clearly knows what it's doing. Congrats and thanks again for the glowing recommendation – I'm always looking for hidden gems like RWTB! LESS

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    Solupia FIRST-TIMER '16

    Running with the Bear is a Boston Qualifier as well as a charity run for a local foster care non-profit organization, Mountain Circle. It's one of the (if the THE) … MORE

    Running with the Bear is a Boston Qualifier as well as a charity run for a local foster care non-profit organization, Mountain Circle. It’s one of the (if the THE) smallest BQ race out there. Only 600 participants allowed to registered among 3 races (Full, Half and 10k).

    Despite being a small race, it has all kinds of perks that captivate my heart.

    First of all, the small town peeps know how to make a production! You get the pre-race pasta dinner and post-race party. During the race, there are aid station contests going on. 10 aid stations, each operated by non-profit organizations are competing for sponsorship in 3 categories: best theme, best spirit and best snacks. They all worked hard to gain the runners’ vote. Some aid stations have glamorous props and costumes. It’s surely fun to have them cheering you on.

    Then you have the BEST goodie bag EVER. You have 40+ samples of snacks and goodies and coupons. To emphasis the incredible volume of items in the bag, I had to share a picture. As a charity run, they know well what it means to be a cheerful giver.

    As for the course, it’s a relatively flat course with maybe a couple of rolling hills. You are running in the Indian Valley between Plumas National Forest and Lassen National Forest. The only challenge for sea-level people is running at a n elevation average around 3500ft. Though it’s a road race, you are surrounded by magnificent mountain ranges. The temperature is cool in the 50s-60s in morning. perfect for a run. But there’s a heatwave during the race weekend. It was in the 90s by noon. I ran as fast as I can to finish the race before the temperature starts to rise. I was thrilled to place top 3 finisher in the race, even though I had to slow down during the last 7 miles due to tight legs. But then this course has no time limit, which means marathon walker is welcomed. Gratefully, slower people are allowed to start as early as 5:30am to avoid extended exposure to heat during later of the day.

    The post-race party started with a gorgeous finished medal and a 30 min massage. (You can get a free massage for 5min, or pay for a 30min massage.) There’s also a polar bear plunge (ice bath) for people to jump in. All top 3 age division winners would receive a medal. Then it’s time to relax and wait till the evening hoedown party. They have duck pie bingo, a live band and dance-till-you-cramp contest. Though originally the event was to end with a square dance party, but it ends up an open floor for everyone to dance with some pop music. Still, it was lots of fun. (Spoiler alert: Next year is gonna be Hawaiian theme.) The staffs know how to party.I had a lot of fun.

    What a splendid way to celebrate my birthday this year. I Highly recommend this event. It will certainly sell out FAST! Be sure to register EARLY. Maybe then, I shall see you at next year race 😉

    For additional extensive review, check out the podcast by Denny at DizRuns.com (Guest speaker at pre-race pasta dinner 2016) : http://www.dizruns.com/running-with-the-bears/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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