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Bearly Ultra 2022 is better than ever

Runners leave the start line at the Bearly Ultra, at Red Mountain Park. The race from the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society offers a distance, a challenge and a fun time for everyone.

By Lauren Weber

The Annual BUTS Bearly Ultra benefiting Red Mountain Park is just around the corner! This year’s race will be on December 10th at Red Mountain Park.

Have you often wondered about that illustrious ultra distance? Have you run marathons and half marathons but have never tried that distance on a trail? Maybe you are a local trail runner and Bearly is your annual pre-holiday race tradition. BUTS Bearly is a welcoming race for everyone.

The course is designed to be challenging for even experienced runners, but we provide a generous time limit to give everyone an opportunity to push themselves. Running Bearly is like a taking a tour of Red Mountain. You’ll start with climbing your way through the powerline hills. Then you take a trip out to Grace’s Gap where you may take a moment to appreciate the view of Birmingham. You’ll get to run all the ups and downs of Ike. You will pass many old mine shafts, dance along the ridgeline, and catch your breath on the old railbeds. And you will pass the aid station several times where our wonderful volunteers will keep you hydrated, fed, and having fun. 

We are excited to announce that we have some great local businesses joining Birmingham Ultra Trail Society to offer you a fun and exciting race experience. Please welcome Fleet Feet Birmingham, Cahaba Brewing, and REI to the party! 

To kick off race weekend, Cahaba Brewing is hosting packet pick up on Friday, December 9, 4-6 p.m. Come pick up your race packet early and stay for some pre-race liquid carb-loading. Also, for this year’s race swag, the beanies are back! Do you like a simple skullcap or prefer some pizazz with a pom? Well, your race director is indecisive so we ordered both! Two options are available, but the choice is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to come out to Cahaba early!

As previously mentioned, Bearly is a race for runners of all abilities. This year we are seeking to celebrate every runner and give everyone a chance to go home with a prize. Your race bib (donated by Fleet Feet) will also serve as a raffle ticket. All of our sponsors, along with Red Mountain Park, have donated prizes that we will raffle off throughout the day. So when you finish your distance, don’t rush off. Hang out, have a beverage and a bite and cheer on those finishing behind you. Whether you are first, middle of the pack, or last, when you are on the trail, we celebrate you!

Speaking of last…. I’m so excited for this year’s Last Place Finisher award. Calabunga Pottery, a local potter, has made an extra special finisher mug for the final runner over the finish line. It is handcrafted with mountain detail made from Birmingham’s own red clay. 

Another big change is that this year’s race will be CUPLESS! As stewards of the trail, we are always working to reduce litter on the trails and waste in the landfills, so while we will have all of the hydration and nutrition to cover your needs, you will need to provide your own drinking vessel. Fortunately, Fleet Feet has placed a special order to offer those awesome collapsible cups for sale. So please support our local running store and race sponsor, and pick up your cup here in town. As most trail races continue to move to cupless events, this is sure to be essential gear to stash in your vest for years to come.

If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time! However, race day registration will not be available, so please hop on UltraSignUp and register before noon on Friday, December 9.

You do not want to miss this race!

Lauren Weber is the Bearly Ultra race director and a Birmingham attorney.

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