Registration now open for UPIKE’s Bear the 99 5K

The University of Pikeville’s Alumni Association will be hosting the much-anticipated Bear the 99 5K race on Saturday, March 6, 2021. Online registration is now open for both in-person and virtual races at Please register online by February 26 to guarantee a T-shirt and finisher medal. The event begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.

With 2020’s race being canceled due to COVID-19, organizers are more than ready to begin the race season in Pikeville.

“It’s the first scheduled race of the year in Pikeville!” explained race organizer and Director of Alumni Relations Lisa Blackburn. “Once again, the race will begin on Benefactors Plaza and end with a climb up the 99 steps back to the plaza, using the course designed by Joel Thornbury for the inaugural 5K in 2019.”

Social distancing and safety protocols will be observed. Face masks are required at all times while awaiting the start of the race.

“We will be following the guidelines put in place by the City of Pikeville along with the guidelines from Healthy at UPIKE,” said Blackburn. “We will social distance, require everyone to wear face masks before the race begins and we will be starting racers in smaller groups to keep people from congregating.”

All race proceeds go toward the UPIKE Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Fund. In 2019, the 5K raised $18,000, and UPIKE Alumni Board President Kay Hammond hopes to reach or exceed this goal in 2021.

“With sponsor and community support, we were able to raise funds for much-needed alumni scholarships that helped to change the lives of the students who received them,” said Hammond. “We are very proud that we had over 100 participants at our first race, and we are looking for that support again so we can help even more students with alumni scholarships.”

Everyone who pre-registers by the required date will receive a face mask and T-shirt prior to the start of the race and commemorative finisher medal upon crossing the finish line. Top male and female will be awarded in each age division, as well as overall male and female winners, with these prizes being mailed to all recipients.

For an updated list of 2021 alumni events and for more information about UPIKE’s Bear the 99 5K, email or call (606) 218-5276.