Race organizers couldn’t have asked for a better day for the newly resurrected Black Bear Half Marathon held in Waterville Valley on Saturday, August 31. The Black Bear Half was last held in Waterville Valley in 2016. Back then the race course was primarily on road. The new and improved Black Bear Half is back in name and has evolved in form to a trail half marathon. The 2019 Black Bear course delivered 800 feet of elevation gain over 13.5 miles of smooth forest road, technical single track, and just enough mud to satisfy.
The race saw strong finishes among the women’s and men’s fields with Megan Bonney of Cambridge finishing first among women and 5th overall in 1:39:16, while Patrick Ward, also of Cambridge, finished 1st overall in 1:27:41. The Watervillians did not disappoint on their home turf. Matt Siegel came in for a 2nd place half marathon finish at 1:36:27 and his daughter, Gabriela, finished first among the women in the 5K with a time of 33:51. Students from the Waterville Valley Academy came out in force to dominate the men’s field in the 5K, with Nicolas Hotermans taking the win in 28:56 over the 3.8 mile course.
The Black Bear Half Marathon, 5K and fun run were produced by Fresh Tracks Racing with lots of support from the students, staff and parents of the Waterville Valley Elementary School. Proceeds from the race benefited the school’s PTA. The race was a huge success with 180 racers participating and great support from local and regional sponsors including The Common Man, Hannaford, and Honey Stinger among others.
Keep an eye out for more events coming up in Waterville Valley, including the Waterville Mountain Race by Acidotic (September 29, 2019), The Fall Foliage Foot Race 10 miler, 5k, and fun run by the Waterville Recreation Department (October 13, 2019), and the Winter Wild 2.5 mile mountain race (March, 2020).
Images from Black Bear Half Marathon Facebook page.