BASS LAKE – Potential participants have just one more day to register online for the annual Smokey Bear Run / Walk Race, happening this Saturday, Sept. 27, at Recreation Point, Bass Lake. After that, it’s day-of registration.
This year’s race will be in memory of enthusiastic racer, young Clancy Aiden Shea, who passed away earlier this year.
Before that, nearly-11-year-old Clancy loved participating in the race the last few years as a supportive team rose around him. The Smokey Bear Run/Walk will continue to have a special event-wheelchair race in honor of Clancy.
The event consists of a 10K run for ages 10 and up, as well as a 2 mile walk for all ages (children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult). Preregistration runs $7 for the kids to run, and $25 for adults. That goes up to $10 and $30 the day of the race. Other races are also taking place for kids ages 2 – 12, with different race lengths depending on the child’s age. For more information, check out the website listed below.
Local officials just recently gave the approval to continue with the 2014 Smokey Bear Run/Walk, despite the Courtney Fire which began on Sunday, Sept. 14, and burned all the way to the shores of Bass Lake in some places.
“We are grateful for everyone’s support and humbled by the running and mountain communities concern for our race,” say organizers. “Please know that our race proceeds go back to the mountain community to benefit Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service fire prevention programs, Madera County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Yosemite High School Cross Country teams and Madera County Sheriff’s Explorer’s Post #104.”
Registration forms can be picked up at Sierra Tel and at the local Forest Service Visitor Offices or online at www.smokeybearrun.com. Shirt sizes are not guaranteed for individuals registering day of the race, so organizers request that participants be sure to register beforehand to get the proper size shirt. Online registration continues through Wednesday, Sept. 24.
Organizers recommend that participants and spectators arrive early, as Road 222 will close between 7:15 – 9:40 a.m. towards the Forks and Millers, adding, “If you must leave the race early please park on the north end, allowing you a means to exit prior to the road reopening.”
This is the 27th year of the race, just not 27 years in a row. The first Smokey Bear Run was held in May 1986. The original organizers were four U.S. Forest Service Employees: Bryan Curtis, Craig Pinkerton, Danny Jones and Patrick Lyng. The race was designed to promote fire safety and awareness with the help of Smokey Bear. The Sierra Track Club was formed to coordinate the event, at a time when all proceeds went directly back into the race. Ken Takeuchi of ProRace Group in Fresno was the race director then, and remains so, today.
In 2002, several friends and runners decided to revive the Smokey Bear Run/Walk after an absence of a couple of years when original organizers had grown tired of the tremendous effort it takes to put on such an event. The new committee successfully took on the organization of the 15th Smokey Bear Run/Walk at Bass Lake and have been able to partner with the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, California Land Management, Citizens on Patrol and Madera County Sheriff’s Department.
2013 10K Race and Wrap-up:
Maria Rivera won the Sept. 28 Smokey Bear 10K race at Bass Lake women’s division with a time of 36:46. The closest competitor was Ashlee Drady of Santa Rosa who crossed the finish line at Recreation Point five minutes behind her. Katherine Botterill of Fresno finished third with a time of 43:08.
Winning the men’s 10K was former Fresno State standout distance runner Sean Marzolf, 29, of Fresno, with a time of 32:25. Placing second was Jesus Campos of Tulare (33:23) with Samuel Silva of Los Angeles crossing the finish line in third place (33:52).
The Mountain Area Runners organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) group and donations are tax-deductible.