This Saturday’s Run the Bear event, coordinated by the Lighthouse Project and staffed by countless local volunteers, drew roughly 1,250 participants in the full marathon, half-marathon, 5K, Kids’ Kritter Run, and the bike tour, which cycled out of Pine Knot Landing before the sun came up on what turned out to be a beautiful day.
Forty-year-old Tony Torres, winner of last year’s Big Bear marathon, won the marathon event, running 26.2 miles around Big Bear Lake in 2 hours, 43 minutes, beating second place marathoner Kevin McSweeney by 25 minutes. Torres, of Cedar Glen, tells KBHR that though he liked how last year’s marathon route was one loop, he was happy that this year’s course (which went round Big Bear Lake twice) did not include the elevation climb through Moonridge, round the golf course. Torres and McSweeney, age 42 from Newhall, were followed by third place finisher Greg Garman, age 48, from Santa Clarita. Twenty-four year old Mary Paulsen took top honors in the female division, finishing the marathon in 3:23 and ranking seventh overall. Other top female runners were, in second, 25-year-old Kate Bertko of Pacific Grove, and 42-year-old Juliet Morgan of Manhattan Beach, who won the women’s division last year. Top local finisher in the 26.2 mile marathon was Craig Congdon of Big Bear Lake, who completed the course in just under four hours.
In the half-marathon event, 24-year-old Nick Comiskey of Big Bear Lake took first overall, with a time of 1:20. Second in the half-marathon was 17-year-old Kevin Magdiel of Big Bear Lake, a senior at Big Bear High School and a member of the Bears cross-country team. Luis Plmentel of Palm Desert took third, with 15-year-old local Roy Bowling less than a minute behind him. Top female finishers in the half-marathon were Shawna Berger of Santa Monica, Sue Zihlmann of Long Beach and, in third, Big Bear City’s Rosalva Bonilla.
In the 5K, Big Bear High’s cross-country coach Jonathan Stiles ran to an easy first place finish, in just over 17 minutes, and was followed by Denver Bane of Twentynine Palms and, in third, 13-year-old Bobby Morales, a freshman at BBHS. Vivien Wadeck of North Hollywood took second overall in the 5K, and first in the women’s division with her time of 19 minutes; other podium finishes in the women’s 5K went to Liliana Hernandez of Glendale and Jessica Phillips.
The Run the Bear marathon was also completed by Jack Moore of Big Bear City, the event’s oldest participant at age 77, and local eighth grader Jordan Romero, the youngest at age 13, who, having completed the marathon, was also one of 11 individuals to Conquer the Bear in the five-event challenge. (We will bring you details of the Conquer the Bear series in a future newscast/story.) For complete race results, including notable finishes, such as a podium finish in her 5K age group for Big Bear Middle School cross-country coach Tracy Tokunaga and a first place 5K finish in his age group for Big Bear Lake City Councilman Michael Karp, visit RuntheBear.com; to view KBHR’s video photo collage from the event, visit RuntheBear video.