The first annual 5-K Bear Crawl Obstacle Mud Run event took place on June 21 hosted by the Cumberland Tourist Commission and sponsored by WCPM Radio, Southern Wholesale, the Harlan Tourist Commission & Cumberland Tourist Commission. Local resident Michael Hatfield coordinated the event and building of the course. He worked very hard on this project and had several volunteers that helped him. Planning began in April and all of the hard work definitely paid off.
On a rainy dreary Saturday morning participants began showing up just a little after 7 a.m. to get down and dirty in the mud. Six teams and individuals consisted of approximately 45 runners in the Bear Crawl event.
Some of the team names were Stone Mountain Girls, Mudders & Fodders, Super Chicks, Dirty Divas, Dirty Dozen and Clintwood.
This was a 5-K Run that consisted of 19 obstacles such as 8 foot walls to be scaled, barbwire to crawl under, tunnel culvert to crawl through and a mud pit so thick that many runners actually duck taped their shoes on.
Many came out and enjoyed watching the event. There were participants from three different states that competed Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio. One of the participants from Ohio, Vanessa Hawk (and her family), were on vacation in Harlan County and saw the event online and decided to stay another day to allow Vanessa to enjoy the Bear Crawl. Vanessa was the fastest female runner.
“Hearing stories like this one and seeing people from Virginia and different parts of Kentucky come to participate, let me know that we are on the right path,” stated Cumberland Tourism Director Tracy Bailey. “It is our goal as a tourist commission to bring people into the area, make it a positive experience and make them want to visit again. These types of events are what put visitors in our hotels and restaurants and Tourism dollars into our local economy.”