Congratulation goes David Manthey (race Director) and all of his volunteers and sponsors for putting on a great inaugural Bear Chase Trail Race!
The race ran through Bear Creek Lake State Park in Lakewood, Colorado. There were four different trail race distances that runners could choose from: 50 Mile, 50k, Half Marathon, and the Baby Bear 10k.
This was a great trail race for runners who have never ran on trails before, trail runners that wanted to test their mettle and run their first trail ultra, and for veterans of ultra trail racing. I like to consider myself a veteran of trail racing and ran the 50 Mile trail race.
The course offers single track, trails through the woods, scenic panoramas, three creek crossings (with a photo op at the deepest crossing), climbs that were long enough to be challenging without being intimidating, and downhill sections that were runable. The course overall is not overly technical and what I would consider to be a fast course for an ultra trail race.
There were five well stocked aid stations and at the start/finish line there was a drop bag station for the 50 milers and 50k trail racers. Every time that I would come to an aid stations the volunteers would be cheering me on by name and very welcoming.
Arriving at the aid stations the volunteers came up to me before I even reached the aid station to see what I needed. It might be a small thing, but I really appreciate it when the volunteers take my water bottles to fill them up. This gives me a few minutes to get some food a just rest for a few seconds.
You can tell that the race was planned by an ultra trail runner. It is not too often that an aid station will have sponges and a bucket of cold water to soak your head, and these aid stations were fully stocked and prepared. I also have to give Kudos that all the aid stations had ice for the ultra trail runners. On a hot day it is so nice to be able to have my water bottles filled with ice rather than drinking room temperature water. And room temperature during the race was in the low 80’s.
The course was very well marked. My personal thought about course markings are that as a race director you can never over-mark the course. The amount of course markings were fantastic. Even at intersections that were very well marked, there were volunteers to direct the trail runners on which way to run.
There were colored flags, ribbons, and signs letting the runners know which direction to run depending on the trail race that they had entered.
How I Rate the Inaugural Bear Chase Trail Race
Wow, what a great race. I highly recommend this race as an introduction to ultra trail racing or just trail running. I also recommend this race to veterans of ultra trail racing.
Everything that an ultra trail runners looks for in a trail race was at the Bear Chase Trail Race. It was well organized, a fun course that was fantastically marked, well stocked aid stations, and fantastic volunteers. I will be back in 2011 to run the 50 mile Bear Chase ultra trail run again!