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Smokey Bear Run/Walk This Weekend

BASS LAKE – The 25th annual Smokey Bear Run/Walk takes place this Saturday, Sept. 22, and organizers expect about 600 people will take part in the event. Road 222 will be closed to all vehicles from 7:15 a.m. to 9:40 a.m, from Recreation Point to the Lakeside picnic area (see map below).

It’s shaping up to be a fun and busy day as races for all ages and fitness levels move along the south shore of Bass Lake, starting at Recreation Point, 39900 Road 222 (South Shore Road). Races include a 2-mile “fun run,” a 2-mile walk, a 10K run (6.2 miles) and races especially for kids.

Registration is from 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., and the first race begins promptly at 7:45 a.m. Event organizers anticipate more entries this year than ever before so no late entries will be accepted.

Organizer Kathy Kramer encourages everyone to arrive extra early, because parking is “challenging.”

“Get there early, at least 45 minutes before your race starts,” says Kramer. “You’re going to get caught in parking, and then you’ll need to walk in. Also, if your kids are in the Mountain Area Youth Soccer league, you’ll need to get out before the road closure to make it to the match.”

You may also want to arrive early because “Starbucks will be there, and you can grab a cup of coffee,” Kramer said.

Parking will be available at Recreation Point, Little Denver Church Picnic Area, St. Dominic Catholic Church, and at the big lot at the intersection at Roads 222, 432 and 274 (see map below). Chukchansi will be shuttling people from that big lot to the race staging area.

Everyone who pre-registered is guaranteed a 2012 event T-shirt. If you’re not registered yet, and you want to participate, last minute registration is $25 and $10 for children.

Are you a long-time participant in the Smokey Bear Run/Walk? Have you saved your race T-shirts from way back when? If so, you’re in luck.

This 25th anniversary event will include a “Vintage Smokey Bear Run T-Shirt Contest.” The runner or walker who shows up wearing the oldest Smokey Bear Run/Walk T-shirt will be awarded a prize.

The 2012 Smokey Bear Run/Walk is a 20-point Valley Runner of the Year Series race, according to race chairman Sheriff John Anderson.

This year’s proceeds benefit Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service fire prevention programs, Madera County Sheriff Explorers Post 104, Madera County Search & Rescue and, fittingly, Yosemite High School’s cross country teams.

The first Smokey Bear Run was held on May 17, 1986, at the Pines Resort in Bass Lake. USFS employees Danny Jones, Patrick Lyng, Brian Curtis of North Fork, and Craig Pinkerton of Kinsman Flats organized that first event, to promote fire safety and awareness with the help of Smokey Bear.

Here is the race schedule:

7:45 a.m. – Kids Run ½ mile (Ages 9-12)
7:55 a.m. – Kids Run ¼ mile (Ages 5-8)
8:05 a.m. – Kids Run 1/8 mile (Ages 2-4)
8:15 a.m. – 2-mile Run/Walk
8:30 a.m. – 10K Run (no walkers)

Wheelchairs will start one minute ahead of runners.

For more information and registration forms visit www.smokeybearrun.com or call 559-683-1770.

Map of the race route. Red indicates the route and the road closures –

Smokey Bear Run Map

Map of the parking areas –

Smokey Bear Run parking map

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