The 28th annual Smokey Bear Run/Walk will be held this Saturday at Bass Lake’s Recreation Point. The event is expected to draw more than 500 participants.
Last year’s 10K men’s and women’s division winners were former Fresno Pacific University cross country runner Benny Madrigalmer, 28, and Beth Tademy, 37, of Reedley. Madrigalmer’s winning time was 33:16. Tademy crossed the finish line in 42:13.7.
The 10K is one of 15 races throughout Central California that runners can acquire points for the Runner of the Year award.
Ken Takeuchi has served as the race director for the event since the first year.
“It’s been my honor to serve as the race director for this event for 28 years,” Takeuchi said. “The runners in the Valley love this event ... many put it on their race calendar every year.”
This year’s race is the first in the past 13 years that has not been coordinated by the Mountain Area Runners. The organization’s race committee consisted of Eva Busto, Kathy Kramer, and PJ Grant - all employees of Sierra Tel.
Taking over the coordination of the race this year will be representatives from Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service. Both organizations have been involved in the event for many years.
Karen Guillemin-Kanawyer, Cal Fire fire prevention specialist, and Franny Adams with the U.S. Forest Service are this year’s co-chairs of the event, along with Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney.
“The Smokey Bear Run/Walk event was originally conceived as a way to bring awareness to fire prevention,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “And with the recent wildfire seaon we are having in California, I believe it is more important than ever for the Mountain Area and our surrounding neighbors to keep fire prevention at the top of everyone’s priority list.”
Guillemin-Kanawyer said the past few years have been very difficult for emergency services with the number of fires that have taken lives and threatened many others.
“Anything we can do to remind the public how important their role is in keeping us all safe is a valuable tool ... in addition, the funds that are raised from the Smokey Bear Run/Walk event all go to Eastern Madera County community service programs,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “95 out of 100 fires are caused by humans ... providing fire safety programs to the public is an essential component to eliminate future fires. This event is an excellent and fun method of reminding everyone to stop and think about fire prevention.”
“We all have a special place in our hearts for this event,” Busto said. “The Smokey Bear Run/Walk is a great event that draws more than 500 participants with proceeds going to great causes every year.”
Platinum sponsors for the event are Sierra Tel and PG&E. Nearly 35 other sponsors help make the event possible.
The run/walks take place along the south shore finishing at Recreation Point. For safety, Road 222 will be closed at 7:30 a.m. and will be re-opened after the completion of the race at 9:45 a.m.
Check-in and preregistration takes place from 6:45 - 7:45 a.m. at Recreation Point where participants will receive race packets, T-shirts and race numbers. Participants are encouraged to show up early to allow sufficient time for parking and packet pick up.
Clancy's Race, in memory of Clancy Shea-Schweikert, starts at 7:40 a.m. The quarter-mile Kid’s Race starts at 7:45 a.m., followed by the 2-mile run/walk at 8:15 a.m., and the 10K run at 8:30 a.m.
Proceeds from the race will benefit Cal Fire, USFS Fire Prevention Programs, Madera County Search & Rescue, Madera County Sheriff Explorer’s Post 104, and the Yosemite High School cross country teams.
Details: (559) 683-1770, smokeybearrun.com.