The Bear 100 was first held in 1999, yet the messages delivered in this independent film are ageless. Although dozens of runners are featured from footage taken during the 2004 and 2005 races, the main focus is on two women athletes, Kelly Bradbury and Mary Workman. In addition, several montrail sponcered athletes (Karl Meltzer, Hiroki Ishikawa and Ty Draney) also share their rich experience with both the trails in general as well as this particular event. With 21,000 feet of of elevation gain, runners have 35 hours to complete this 100 mile loop course in Bear River Range National Forest located in southeast Idaho. The panoramic views and dynamic colors of the fall trees are etched by the passing runners as voice overs are often used to tell about the unique culture of ultra trail running, including comments on overcoming hardship, crew members, adjusting to the darkness, feet care, aid stations, pacers, and appreciation of the great outdoors.
"I fell in love with the mountains and couldn’t even think about my life without them. Just going and running in them has become somewhat who I am. Not so much as I think of myself as a runner, it’s more of something I have to do just in discovering myself. That’s what it’s about for me is connecting to the Earth, breathing the smells, it’s become a daily exercise in awareness." ~Kelly Bradbury
"The reason I love running these long distance races is for the adventure. It takes you to a place inside your soul that not many people experience. It is spiritual. I love nature. A 100 miles of beautiful trail through God’s gorgeous country invigorates me, inspires me, and as long as the highs are higher than the lows, it makes the lows worth it and your highs keep you going." ~Mary Workman
"Stay focused and disassociate because it’s not going to last. The deal is, no matter whatever it is, the bad or the good will both pass so you just have to stay the course. It’s only momentary." ~Errol "The Rocket" Jones
"Use every strategy you have, every resource you have, to beat the mountain. Just realize, when you have nothing else, you can do it on willpower alone. The race is the enemy. You have to overcome the race. These other people who are running, they’re not the enemy, they’re not competitors, they are friends on the trail. The race is what competes with you. The race is out to beat you, so you have to beat the race." ~Phil Lowry
"I never really thought about anything other than I’m just out here and I’m going to keep moving. You get into that single purpose mindset and just keep doing it. And it also helps to have a pacer who can cheer you up and kind of coax you along the way. And things start to go wrong, and it’s almost universal whether it’s the fastest runners or slowest runners, your body starts to break down in unusual ways and you start to have little problems and you have to start dealing with things going wrong" ~John Medinger
Like any test of endurance, this film goes through a host of aspects, some predictable, many not, that ends with satisfaction in the journey taken. Both an elevation map as well as course route are provided. Although the 54 minute film does not come with any extras or bonus material, it does provide chapters corresponding to many of the main checkpoints. This DVD is available new at Amazon.com and if you find after watching this film that you want to pursue this race yourself, visit the official Bear 100 website to learn more about this event.