Now in its third year, the Bear Chase Trail Race has quickly become one of the region’s most popular trail races. The event features four different race options, including two ultra distances: a 50 Mile and 50K (31 miles), and two shorter distances: a half marathon and “Baby Bear” 10K race. With only 1,000 spots available in all four races combined, the event easily sold out this year. The combination of a stacked racing field, killer post-race celebration, and incredibly well-organized, not to mention beautiful and challenging race course, this year’s Bear Chase is to sure to be the best yet!
In terms of course logistics, all race distances take place within Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, Colorado. The 50 mile race course consists of four laps of a 12.5 mile loop. The 50K course starts out along the 10K course – a shorter loop within the park – and then follows the 12.5 mile laps twice to the finish. The half marathon takes a 0.6 mile out and back lap before taking on the 12.5 mile loop, and the Baby Bear 10K follows its shorter loop within the park to complete 6.2 miles.
Approximate elevation gain:
- Baby Bear 10k = 230 ft.
- Half Marathon = 900 ft.
- 50k = 1,930 ft.
- 50 mile = 3,400 ft.
All race distances have a combined start and finish line where multi-lap racers will be able to run through and see their fans and supporters, as well as utilize a bag drop for personal needs. The course is relatively challenging as it is run on mostly single track trails, includes a summit of Mount Carbon within each 12.5 mile lap, has three water crossings, and is relatively exposed for the latter miles of the race. But with incredible views of the front range and the outlying mountains, as well as the smiling faces from the encouraging volunteers, the Bear Chase boasts one of the best trail races in all of Colorado.
This year’s event has once again attracted some top talent from around the state. Brooks Williams will be chasing an elusive win in the 50 mile race, as he has finished 3rd and 2nd, respectively, in the past two years. Other notables to watch in the 50 mile include Emily Booth, Sean Wetstine, Eric Truhe, and McKenna Douglas, to name a few.
According to Race Director David Manthey, the women’s 50K “could be a blazer of a race with Meredith Terranova, Kara Henry (reigning Bear Chase 50 Mile champ and course record holder, although word on the street is that Henry will be competing in the 10K), and a few others.” In the men’s race, reigning Bear Chase Half Marathon champ Joel Hamilton will be taking on the 50K distance this year.
With 46% of race participants taking on the half marathon, there’s bound to be some stiff competition in the line-up. As for the Baby Bear 10K, Keith Solverson and Matt Kempton are a few big names in the men’s race, while Heather Utrata will be coming back to defend her 2010 title and course record.
Here’s what the top finishing times from last year looked like:
2011 Bear Chase 50 Mile Top Male Finishers
1. Batlle Marcel – 6:49:30
2. Brooks Williams – 6:58:55
3. Ken Long – 7:21:17
2011 Bear Chase 50 Mile Top Female Finishers
1. Kara Henry – 8:25:54
2. Jamie Donaldson – 8:45:36
3. Jessica Cooney – 9:19:48
2011 Bear Chase 50K Top Male Finishers
1. Michael Dominguez – 3:37:40
2. Paul Terranova – 3:43:42
3. Tim Schuler – 3:52:09
2011 Bear Chase 50K Top Female Finishers
1. Amy Schneider – 4:35:27
2. Meredith Terranova – 4:50:08
3. Kelly Harrington – 4:51:46
2011 Bear Chase Half Marathon Top Male Finishers
1. Joel Hamilton – 1:15:18
2. Alejandro Arreola – 1:29:26
3. Clint Boston – 1:29:44
2011 Bear Chase Half Marathon Top Female Finishers
1. Kim Dobson – 1:30:29
2. Lindsay Krause – 1:36:33
3. Katie Stuckey – 1:41:48
2011 Bear Chase Baby Bear 10K Top Male Finishers
1. Dan Spale – 41:41
2. Tyler Whatmore – 42:30
3. Trent Gillaspie – 42:31
2011 Bear Chase Baby Bear 10K Top Female Finishers
1. Kaitlin Schuessler – 47:59
2. Lillian Steed – 49:35
3. Jenny Carlin – 49:39
Manthey stated in his pre-race instructions that “the race course is in terrific shape and despite the recent rain the past two weeks, it has drained exceptionally well. There may be a few soft/muddy sections, but these are minimal and should continue to dry out as we approach Sunday. The weather forecast calls for a high in the mid-70’s, partly cloudy skies, and 0% chance of precipitation…if all goes according to forecast, it looks like we’ll have very good race day conditions.”
In addition to some awesome awards and prizes for the top finishers, race participants will also have the opportunity to take part in a fabulous post-race celebration. Finishers will be able to refuel and relax after the race in the shady/grassy area adjacent to beautiful Bear Creek Lake. “Runners Roast” coffee blended specially by Coda Coffee for Runners Roost, Flippin’ Flapjacks for pancakes, CorePower protein drinks, Fort Collins Brewing Co. beer, Eldorado Springs bottled water, soda and fruit is just a taste of what participants will enjoy at the finish line.
And if that’s not enough, runners will also have free access to their online race photos via Running Guru. This Sunday’s race is sure to be another amazing experience for all race participants, supporters, fans, volunteers and race organizers!