Parking/Facilities/Registration: We arrived at the race about an hour before the start. There was convenient parking close to the finish area. And, after two hours in the car hydrating, we were happy to see three porta potties and no line! We proceeded to registration where we were given our numbers and invited to make our own swag bag of goodies. We took some ‘healthy’ candy bars, tea samples, almonds, and some body lotion.
Race Course: The race course sits in the NH White Mountain region, located in the heart of Waterville Valley, a ski resort town. So, of course, it was hilly. Total elevation change was approximately 1000′ feet over the ‘out and back’ course. The hills were friendly for the first 7 miles and then turned my legs to lead for the next 6 miles. As one finisher told me, “…it’s best to embrace the hills and try to love them- you have to run up them either way.” The course was well marked, and there were seven water stops along the route.
Refreshments: The refreshment table was neatly arranged with fresh fruit and pastry items. Watermelon, bananas, bagels, mini muffins and other items were available. A barrel of ice cold water bottles and Gatorade next to the refreshment tent. Also on site was a vendor giving out samples of various flavored protein recovery drinks.
Awards/Results/Swag: Technical tees were given out to every runner. The design is a nice bold black and white bear print design. Each finisher was awarded a custom race medal. Awards were given three deep in each age group. Overall and age group winners were given attractive pint glasses with the bear print logo. Almost every runner walked away with something, as many items were also given away in a raffle format.
Overall Experience: The Black Bear Half Marathon is presented by 3C Race Productions – the same team behind the New England Half Marathon Tour. The race management is experienced, efficient, and put on a top-notch running event. There were less than 150 runners in today’s race, but I think this is the start of something much bigger. The next race in the series is the Freeport Half Marathon in Freeport, ME. It’s already on my calendar. If you are looking for a great local racing experience with the benefits of a big time half marathon, look no further.
Race Photography: Race participants were photographed by active lifestyle photographer Liz Cardoso of Global Click Photography. Photos were made available to runners through Global Click’s online store just a few days after the race. These photos help document the efforts of the runners who challenged themselves to complete the Black Bear Half Marathon.