High Country Association of REALTORS News

Live the Dream #20 - The Bear

There's a lot of races in the High Country. There's races on foot, races on bikes and even races on canoes. One of the most challenging is tonight. It's simply known as The Bear.

It's been run for more than 14 years. The starting line is at the base of Grandfather Mountain. The finish line? Near the top of Grandfather Mountain. Inbetween is five miles of road and 1,568 feet of elevation.

About 700 runners take it on each year. The roster includes area high school and college students, along with runners from across the region who love a challenge. Also, what a view!

the Bear race winnerThe beginning seemed a little lackluster and slow, but it was still nice to be out there with a large group of runners. Somewhere in between miles 2 and 3, you enter McRae Meadow which is where the Highland Games are held. The run became a little more interesting at this point with much more scenery. There were tons of people there camping with extravagant campsites, hanging out cheering us on as we passed. Lots of kilts and bagpipes and vendors with tents setup. It was also here at McRae Meadow where we got the first view of the peak of Grandfather Mountain which really increased the stakes and the climb.

The first and only aid station we came to, which I believe was at mile 3, was perfectly placed for an awesome view. The remainder of the course was a series of steep switchbacks hitting around 12% grade near the finish. I finally crossed the finish line, with extremely tired legs and an awesome view from the top of the mountain and received my Bear medal.

That particular point of view comes from someone who was running in another High Country race two days later - the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It ends at McRae Meadow, and begins wayyyyy down the mountain in Boone.