Black Bear Half Marathon Race Report – Keith Nadeau

Race: Black Bear Half Marathon

Runner: Keith Nadeau

Race Date: 09/05/2020

Location: Waterville Valley, NH

Results: 2nd place overall – 1:29:46

Strava Activity Link:

black bear half marathon

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. They did a staggered start so everyone started alone 10 – 15 seconds apart. It made the starting field of 100 not feel so chaotic and congested.
  2. The course was great! Everything from burly technical ascents to flat roads. It constantly changed and challenged everyone in different ways.
  3. Feeling a sense of running community for the first time in 2020 for me.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

No complaints:)

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The weirdest thing to me was that it was supposed to be a bit over half marathon distance. Near the end two people that were volunteering telling everyone to skip the small loop around a pond. It took me and I’m sure others off guard but at the same time I don’t think anyone was complaining about it.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Super happy with my approach to this one. I started out more conservative and was able to finish stronger than ever. I started in 11th from my estimated time but I should have put down a much faster time in retrospect. I passed runners in the first 4 miles until I was in 3rd place. I slowly caught the guy in 2nd and with a great 400m effort to kick it in I almost got him at the line. I started about 2 minutes after him with the staggered start so I knew I had 2nd place. Proud of digging deep at the end.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner


Lessons you learned that will help you next time around


Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Bomb the downs and survive the ups.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very pretty course. It’s all wrapped in the woods and nature of New Hampshire and the start/finish location is beautiful.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not particularly difficult although there is some technical trail and ascending to be done. Relatively fast course for trail.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Very well organized! 10/10

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not a very deep field. After the top 5 the times dropped off. The guys up front had some wheels though!

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

They made it as easy as possible.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

3 aid stations. I didn’t stop at any but they looked well stocked and had happy people wringing bells at them.

Weather and typical race conditions

Bluebird day

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Just a 12oz soloman sot flask handheld. No gear other than that.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes but not too many spots to go to watch.

How’s the Swag?

Awesome hat!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?


black bear half marathon