By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Running fanatics and fitness gurus will have the opportunity to usher in the spring at the Bear Paw run.
The run is slated to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Rotary Pond in the Bear Paw Mountains, about 18 miles south of Havre.
"I want people to think of fitness and not racing," said Mike Welch, race coordinator. "I think there is enough races out around the state. I don't care if somebody wants to come out and race, but I want to lean it toward enjoyment and running for their life, not just for one day."
Families, kids, and walkers can participate in the one mile run, which will begin at 11 a.m.
The other two races 3.1 mile and 6.2 mile are slated to begin at 11:45 a.m., when the course is cleared from the previous race.
Water stations will be set up every two miles on the 6.2-mile run, and at the half-way point of the 3.1-mile run.
The course will be mainly downhill, with one hill just prior to the finish line, Welch said.
Strollers and baby joggers are welcome, but pets are discouraged, Welch said.
The run took place for 17 straight years, before ending in 1994. The Havre Jaycees sponsored it for two years, but it did not run at all last year.
However, back, in its 20th year, it has proven itself to be successful in the past.
At the peak of the fitness era in 1982, as many as 416 runners took part in the run, Welch said. In its heyday, the run attracted, on average, 170-250 runners.
"I think it's great to stay here and run," Welch said. "With the aesthetics, mountains, and clean air, it's conducive to runners."
This year, it is being held the day before the Icebreaker in Great Falls.
"It is really hard for us to compete with that clientele, but we do get quite a bit of runners from the Hi-Line and some from Canada," Welch said.
Pre-registration will take place on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. at the pond, where the run will end. A bus will transport the runners to the respective starting lines.
No awards will be given, but Taco John's will offer food and drinks following the run. The cost is $12, which includes a long-sleeve T-shirt with a Bear Paw logo, designed by the MSU-Northern art department.