BASS LAKE – The 25th annual Smokey Bear Run/Walk is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 22, at beautiful Bass Lake. Among the familiar faces will be local resident Christine Lawrence. This will be her eighth year running the Smokey Bear.
Christine and her friend, Virginia Lazar, won first place in their divisions the first time they ran it. Once a girl gets a trophy, there’s no looking back — there’s something about the way they shine when the sun hits them.Christine started running when she was 12, and decided to get really serious about it due a promise she made herself: she would run a marathon when she was 40.
Apparently you don’t just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon, even when you are a runner. She knew she needed to train, so she turned to her friend, Kathy Kramer, a former co-worker who she knew had experience with this sort of thing.
Kathy introduced Christine to Eva Busto and the three became running partners. They helped Christine find a running program that worked for her and were successful in helping her meet her goal. As a result, Christine was able to complete Sacramento’s CowTown Marathon.
Christine became a volunteer for the Smokey Bear Run/Walk through her friendships with Eva and Kathy. She arrives early and gets the trophies set up (I’m telling you, girls love trophies). She also makes sure that the winners get the right trophies, which is a huge job. The Smokey Bear has several categories, including a 2-mile run, a 10K run and races for the kids.
The Smokey Bear Run/Walk fundraiser was created by U.S. Forest Service employees Brian Curtis, Craig Pinkerton, Danny Jones and Patrick Lyng. The race was created to promote fire safety and awareness with the help of Smokey Bear. The race has continued for 25 years and has evolved into a family-friendly community event, with hundreds of people of all ages participating.
This year’s proceeds will benefit Cal Fire and USFS Fire Prevention Programs, Madera County Search & Rescue, Madera County Sheriff Explorers Post 104, and the Yosemite High School cross country teams.
Thanks to an army of runners and volunteers, they are sure to receive very generous donations.
For more information on the run/walk, visit www.smokeybearrun.com.