PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Shawnee State University Athletics Department will host the 41st annual Spring Bear Run, which will commence at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, is open to all who wish to sign up for the event.
As far as the history of the Bear Run is concerned, the event was formed by former SSU Cross Country head coach Larry Mangus in the mid-1990’s. The first edition of the event was officially held in the Fall of 1995 and drew over 200 registrants in all.
Since then, the Bear Run has grown into one of the most iconic events in the Portsmouth community as the Bear Run has attracted as many as 900 walkers and runners during the previous 40 versions of the event.
As the 41st Bear Run approaches, a total of 45 different runners (24 on the women’s side and 21 on the men’s) have been crowned as the winning harrier in their respective classes.
Current SSU Cross Country Head Coach and Assistant Athletic Director Eric Putnam (11) leading the men for the most Bear Runs won while Lisa Davies-Culbertson and Nina Di Traglia share the lead for the most Bear Runs won on the women’s side, with four apiece. Putnam and Davies-Culbertson also hold the course records for each gender, with times of 14:37 for Putnam (set in the Spring 2005 Bear Run) and 17:09 for Davies-Culbertson (set in the Fall 2014 Bear Run).
Following Putnam on the men’s side is Brian Putnam, who won the Bear Run five consecutive times from the Spring of 1998 to the Spring of 2000, while John Williams won it three times in a row from the Fall of 2001 to the Fall of 2002. Shannon Callahan, Jeremy Hornick, Keegan Rathkamp, and Eli Gerlach have each won the event twice, with Gerlach sweeping the 2014 events.
In addition to Culbertson and Di Tragila, a number of women have won the Bear Run multiple times, including Emily Burchett and Tracy Weithoff, who have won the event three times each. Sara Armstrong, Julie Eisnaugle, Star Emmert, Lindsey Liles, and Bri Tudor have each won the event twice.
Pre-registration for the spring event is available now through Friday, September 19 and will be free to anyone who is a student at SSU, a faculty or staff member on the campus, or an alumnus of SSU. Grade school, junior high, and high school students can also register for free. All other registers must play $10 if they pre-register and $16 if they opt to receive a specially designed Bear Run T-shirt. Individuals who qualify for pre-registration must pay for the T-shirt if they opt to buy it when they register.
For more information, please visit the Shawnee State University Bear Run website at shawneestatebearrun.com. Information can also be obtained by contacting the Bear Run Coordinator, Eric Putnam at [email protected] or at 740-351-3604 or by reaching Jonna Cook at [email protected] or at 740-351-3285.