Andy Schachat On the Run: Runners take pride in their jackets
Even though a few races are already under that Granite State road race belt, it will be a few weeks before the New Hampshire schedule kicks into high gear. That's why there is still time for local runners to look ahead and make decisions about their 2013 road race goals. Those looking for new goals and new motivation might want to try one of the road race series that will be taking place in the state this year.
Signing up and taking part of a road race series has become very popular in New Hampshire over the past few years. It has given many runners something to focus on throughout a calendar year. Participating in a series creates a sense of accomplishment.
The reason for the growing popularity in New Hampshire road race series' has been the prize at the end of the tunnel. Each series provides souvenir jackets to those that complete whatever the requirements are for completion. Each series consists of a number of races and each series requires runners and walkers to finish a specific number of those races. One hundred percent completion of the races in not required, giving participants some flexibility scheduling races.
The prize for each series is a souvenir jacket. The jackets serve as a badge of honor, a statement of "look at what I have done." To outsiders the jackets may not seem like much. To series participants, a jacket serves as one of the most valuable rewards a runner or walker could earn. No other piece of sportswear is considered more valuable to runners or walkers than a jacket that was earned through effort.
There are currently four major road race series in New Hampshire. A couple of already gotten underway but let's take a look at each series and what the requirements.
MILLENIUM RUNNING SERIES: The series started on New Year's Day with the Millennium Mile on Londonderry. There are nine races in the series, all based in the Manchester area. The distances range from one mile to 10 miles. Participants must complete six of the nine races so those that missed the Millennium Mile can still sign up for, and finish the series. The series also includes an end of the year party that will take place in December, most likely in Manchester.
Participants must be at least 12 years old. That's because runners or walkers who are under 12 are allowed to participants in the races for free but are not eligible for a series jacket. (millenniumrunning.com)
WILL RUN FOR BEER SERIES: This series also got underway on New Year's Day with a 5K/10K event in Lowell, Mass. The second event will take place on Feb. 24 in Hampton, the Half at the Hamptons Half Marathon. The Half at the Hamptons is sold out but don't fret. There are still five events left on the schedule that runners and walkers can sign up for. There won't be much margin for error because completing five of seven events is required to earn the souvenir jacket.
Despite a couple of the races taking place in Massachusetts, most of the events are based in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. There is one more half marathon, the Great Bay Half in Newmarket, with a couple of 5Ks, a 6K, and a four miler also on the schedule.
As its name indicates the emphasis on this series is having fun and having a beer. Most of the races are followed by a big post-race party complete with live music and adult beverages. (willrunforbeer.com)
CAPITAL AREA RACE SERIES: The first race in this series will be the Gilmanton 5K on March 30. As the name indicates, the races will take place in the Concord area. There will be seven races in the series between the Gilmanton event and the Canterbury Woodchuck 5K on July 27. Six of the seven races are 5K's with the Bill Luti Five Miler the other race, so no one has to run or walk more than five miles. To earn a souvenir jacket six of seven races must be completed. There are also prizes for top finishers in both overall and age group categories. (capitalarearaceseries.com)
SEACOAST SERIES: This will be the last of the four series that will get underway in 2013 with the start date on May 4 at the Children's Museum 5K in Dover. This series will include eight races in New Hampshire and one trip to York, Maine. Five of the races are 5K's, one is a five miler, and two are 10K's. To earn a souvenir jacket runners and walkers must complete six of the eight events and two of the races completed must be longer than a 5K.
The Seacoast Series is the oldest of the four series. It was an instant hit with the Seacoast running community with hundreds signing up for the races that have been part of the series. It was the success of the Seacoast Series that led to the creation of the other series. (proportsmouth.org/SeacoastSeries.cfm?size=3349)
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RUNNING SHORTS: Timing is everything. The blizzard that took place in New England on Feb. 8 and 9 forced cancellation of a number of races. On Feb. 10 the sun came out and Sam Daly of Bedford and Karin Biskovich of Amherst won the Snowflake Shuffle 5K in Bedford. The race had 818 finishers in its first year. ... Turning the clock back a couple of weeks, Casey Carroll of Dover and Abby Wood of Laconia won the 4th Down and 4 Miler in Concord on Feb. 3.
Andy Schachat's column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.