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December 08. 2012 8:33PM

Andy Schachat On the Run: High temps and turnouts in 2012


 

With just a few more weeks left in 2012, it's time to look back at the year in New Hampshire road races and triathons.

Today starts a two-part year-in-review series. In two weeks, I'll announce my "best-of" winners (male/female runners of the year, best race, best T-shirt, etc.). This week, I look back at the year's top stories. By coincidence three of the top stories involved the weather.

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MILD WINTER NOT GOOD FOR EVERYONE: The year started with one of the mildest winters on record. Normally that would make runners happy, but not everyone benefited from the lack of cold and snow. Practically the entire Granite State Snow Shoe Series had to be canceled.

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HEAT AT BOSTON: The mild winter turned into a hot spring weekend when near-record temperatures transformed the Boston Marathon. Temperatures were so high that Boston organizers offered deferments to 2013. Most entrants decided not to wait and struggled through the heat and humidity. Among the fastest finishers were Tim Perry of Nashua (2 hours 45 minutes 8 seconds) and Christin Doneski of Hopkinton (3:12:06), the top Granite State male and female.

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NEW YORK'S CANCELLATION IS MANCHESTER'S GAIN: How ironic that, months after Boston was greatly affected by Mother Nature, the New York City Marathon also had to deal with severe weather conditions, conditions that were far worse that Boston.

Hurricane Sandy left many parts of the Big Apple in ruins and resulted in the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, which had been scheduled for Nov. 4. With the Manchester City Marathon/Half Marathon also scheduled for that day, a few hundred runners traveled from New York to run in the Queen City. The addition of these runners created interesting stories that were picked up by news sources around the globe. It also resuled in the largest turnout in the history of the marathon portion of the Manchester City event (705 official finishers).

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MILLENNIUM RUNNING BRINGS THOUSANDS TO MANCHESTER RACES: In its second year of operation, Millennium Running tapped into the Greater Manchester running community like no one ever had. By the end of the year, MR had produced three Queen City races that all had more than 2,000 finishers: the Shamrock Shuffle, The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5K and last weekend's Santa Claus Shuffle.

Hundreds also showed up at several other MR-produced area races, including Manchester's HASLAW Mile/5K, Auburn's New Hampshire 10-Miler, Londonderry's Millennium Mile and Merrimack's Ribfest 5-Miler.

On a smaller scale, but just as much fun, the Millennium Running Social Club met at various Manchester restaurants most Thursday nights for a quick run and a quick drink.

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HISTORY MADE ON THE SEACOAST: While Millennium Running races were turning out big numbers in Manchester, the LOCO Sports people were also putting on big events in the Seacoast region of the state. A number LOCO half marathons and 5K's easily topped the coveted 1,000-finishers mark but none compared to their Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon/Half Marathon. More than 3,100 finished the half marathon, with almost 900 more going on to complete the marathon. Both numbers were records for New Hampshire races at their respective distances.

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THE GROWTH OF THE 1,000 CLUB: The "1,000 Club" is the title given to races with more than 1,000 finishers, and the increase in races joining the club gave a good indication of the popularity of running road races in New Hampshire. When all the events were totaled up, the number was 25 for all running events (24 races and one untimed run). That doubled the total of three to four years ago. It also meant that a number of races made their debut in the 1,000 club in 2012. One of those was a particularly special event. ...

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THE CHIEF MALONEY MEMORIAL RUN: The entire state mourned when Greenland Police Chief Mike Maloney was killed in the line of duty in April. Close to 2,000 runners and walkers from around New Hampshire showed their respects by showing up for a 5.5-mile run later that month.

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THE UP-AND-DOWN WORLD OF TRIATHLONS: It was an interesting year on the New Hampshire multi-sport scene. One of the state's biggest triathlons, the Mooseman, ceased to exist ... but not for long. By the end of the year, new owners promised to revive the event, though they've yet to announce the dates for the 2013 edition. A triathlon event at Lake Sunapee wound up being cancelled due to low registration. Another popular Granite State triathlon event, the Black Fly, remains in limbo as organizers decide whether to hold the event in 2013.

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RUNNING SHORTS: Spectacular. That is the only way to describe the scene at the Santa Claus Shuffle on Dec. 1 as thousands of runners and walkers decked out in Santa suits took over Elm Street in Manchester's downtown. Kevin Johnson of West Lebanon and Lucy Garfield of Hanover were the winners of the 3-mile race ... Also on Dec. 1, the winners of the Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis 10K in Portsmouth were Rich Smith of Enfield and Becky Snyder-Ballou of Salisbury, Mass. ... Congrats to those who took part in the Disaster Relief 5K on Dec. 2 in Exeter, a race that raised money for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Andy Schachat's column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at schachat44@gmail.com.


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