10 Bears Den

The 10 Bears is awarded for mastering the sport of ultrarunning. It is a clock and a standing Grizzly Bear mounted on a large slab of native Montana juniper or cedar.

It is earned by a runner who completes 10 Le Grizz events  as  a registered entrant. The  runs  do not need to be completed consecutively, and there is no time limit, but there  is a penalty for not finishing: No credit for a completion.

This award is unique in the sport of ultra running,  as it takes at least 10 years to earn. Learning to  run ultras is an undertaking that takes years, has nothing to do with accidentally finishing one’s first ultra attempt, and is different for everyone. The 10 Bears Award is a measure of the commitment, perseverance, injury  management and mental tenacity one  must develop to persist in the sport. An occasional DNF or missed year is simply part of a runner’s development.

This award, unlike recognition for winning or setting a record time, emphasizes! finishing. It places a premium on the patience needed to incorporate necessary recovery periods (with their attendant physical deterioration) into one’s lifestyle, to stop and smell the roses rather than just stop and smell. It provides incentive to learn pacing, or to tough it out when a fast time  is  not going to happen. And it makes one  hell of a belt buckle.

 The Chief 10 Bears Award enhances membership in the 10 Bears Den by recognizing lifetime achievement. It is conferred on a runner with 20 completions. It is derived from the legacy of Paruasemena, a Comanche Chief whose oration at the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty in 1867 is still regarded as the finest ever delivered by a native American.

After completing one’s 20th run, a candidate may participate in a First People’s Confirmation, as elements found in Native American culture  furnish the most appropriate  perspectives available for honoring the accomplishment.

10 Bears Den 1981-2014


James Derby Year of Award: 2015

Years to Earn Award:10

Age Award Achieved: 51

Hometown: Spokane, WA

Performance Data

2006 10:34:17

2007 8:59:32

2008 9:35:25

2009 8:55:50

2010 8:36:12

2011 9:48:20

2012 9:11:41

2013 10:28:53

2014 9:38:39

2015 10:38:21-10 Bears Awarded

Ten Bears Jim Derby