Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Bear Run- a 5.1 Mile run up to Grandfather Mountain

My ritual pre-race photo :)

Grandfather Mountain Bear Run

 This by far was one of  THE hardest races I've ever participated it. I didn't even plan to participate in it but, a friend gave me her number last minute .

The Bear is the beginning of a weekend long celebration of the Highland Scottish Game's Festival at Grandfather Mountains. The Bear run is a challenging 5 mile race up to the top of Grandfather Mountain. The race begins in Linville. The first couple of miles are run on a gravel road as you make your way up to the mountain. As you reach the entrance to Grandfather Mountain, you slowly wind to the finish at the entrance to the Mile High Swinging Bridge. This year we had runners from 18 different states that ranged in ages from 8 to 72.   Registration is limited to only 800 registrants and it filled up in 4 weeks. 

Once again, I placed myself in the back and was frazzled when I heard the gun go off... I frantically tried to get my Nike + App going while avoiding getting trampled by the runners...It took until I passed the start line but, I managed not to get ran over. 

The very beginning involves a smaller , paved hill, that does a switch back onto a long gravel road. 

I couldn't believe that I was seeing sunshine through the branches! We've had such a wet spring and this one of the first evenings it hadn't rain for weeks!

I couldn't get a very good picture of the Mile 1 picture and I was hurrying to mile 3 so, this is the best I got for two.

They have a pretty intense cut off for mile 3 that had me a little frazzled. They were going to take those off the course that didn't get to mile 3 by 50 minutes. I really pushed my pace until mile 3 and made it in 35 minutes!

The last half of mile 2 leads you through the camp of the Highland games, you round the corner into the track where the games are held. 

 Unfortunately as soon as you cross the track you have the beginning of the MAJOR hills. This one was a butt kicker but, a wonderful sign was waiting up at the top!
OVER HALF WAY DONE......but the worst is yet to come...We still had almost 1,000 feet left to run up

We still had to make it to the top of the right peak!

 Cute signs along the way

running up Forest Gump Curve (seen in the movie)
The last big push!...3-4 more switchbacks

The light at the end of the tunnel!!!

My partner in crime. They give mugs to those who finish the top 10%, he finished #49 our of 800

I DID IT! 1:02:64

mile high swinging bridge

  1. Get to the parking lots early, they fill up quick, Linville is a small town.
  2. Grandfather mountain top is about 20 degrees colder than Linville, bring extra clothes to change into. They provide a truck that will be at the top to put bags in. They also only provide water, so choose a bag that is very easy to identify and put extra clothes in it as well as post race snacks
  3. Register early if you want to do this race!! They only accept the first 800, there is a waiting list but to secure your place early is the best option.
  4. Train on hills (duh)
  5. Prepare for mist and rain. Up in the mountains, our weather is SO unpredictable so prepare for sun, rain, and mist within the 5 miles, wear the right clothing as well as water proof devices if you choose to run with music. I LOVE my lifeproof case for my Iphone :)
  6. Bring a camera! lots of kilts, mountains, and scenery to take in 

Our loot :), the shirts are AMAZING.


  1. I'll be attempting to run The Bear this week. I'm so nervous about it; that cut off at mile 3 has me worried! Well the whole mountain has me worried! Did you walk much of the race?

    1. Deb, I'm sorry I didn't respond before the race, I hope you did well!!! I remember running up till Mile 3. I think once I hit forest gump curve I started walking and then tried to jog up that last hill to look like I had put some effort into the race lol.. Please let me know how you did!