Two topics for the price of one column - no additional charge.
Topic 1: A call for The Hall
Regular readers know of my pledge to start a New Hampshire Road Race Hall of Fame by the end of 2014, and of the members I've asked to serve on the organizing committee. Now it's time to kick things into gear.
Consider this the official announcement that the nominating process is open for the inaugural class of inductees. To participate, just email the name of your nominee or nominees, along with the credentials that you feel merit induction.
Don't hold back. Nominate as many folks as you want. Think of people who have made the Granite State racing scene special - people whose accomplishments have stood above the rest. Think outside the box. Runners tend to get most of the accolades in the running community, but how about race directors, sponsors whose contributions make races possible, volunteers whose efforts have gone above and beyond? The community is full of great people whose stories deserve to be told, and your nominations can help our hall of fame tell those stories.
Deadline for nominations is June 30. After that, they'll go to the organizing committee. Each member then vote for five nominees, ranking them from first to fifth, with first-place votes worth 10 points, second-place votes worth eight points, third-place worth five, fourth worth four and fifth worth two. Once the totals for each nominee are determined, the committee will set a cut-off point for induction.
In the future, inductees also will be allowed to vote.
Sometime in late summer or early fall, I'll announce the results, and, ladies and gentlemen, we will have our first class of inductees for the New Hampshire Road Race Hall of Fame.
It all starts now, and it starts with you.
Topic 2: Post-race party time
Last Tuesday night, I stood on Elm Street in downtown Manchester and announced the Fat Tuesday 5K. The name of the race said it all: It was Mardi Gras time at the N'awlins Bar and Grille, and a road race broke out.
As I announced the names of the 600 finishers, I could not help but think of a saying first attributed to Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, an 18th century French politician: "There go my people. I must follow them so I can be their leader."
What do Ledru-Rollin's words have to do with New Hampshire road racing? The most savvy organizers of New Hampshire road races have discovered an important aspect of a race's success: Granite State runners love a good party.
Many of the major New Hampshire races have some sort of party theme attached to them. That means runners show up to run hard and then have a good time. Take away the good time and those races would not be as large as they are.
Of the New Hampshire races that had more 1,000 finishers in 2013, I counted 12 with a party theme. Take away the four Thanksgiving Day races that had more than 1,000 finishers (Turkey Day events have their own celebratory theme, but the celebrations take place well after the race, usually at people's homes) and half of the members of the "1,000 club" were party-themed races.
It was no mere coincidence that last Tuesday's race happened to take place on Fat Tuesday. How else would you explain hundreds of runners showing up on a Tuesday night, in the middle of the week, in the middle of winter? It is also why 4,000 are expected for the Shamrock Shuffle on March 30 (call it St. Patrick's Day redux) and why thousands more are expected to run Bedford's Cinco De Miles 5K in May and Merrimack's Ribfest 5-Miler in June.
All these races are organized by Millennium Running. I've talked many times with the company's owner, John Mortimer, about the current wave of runners, and it's clear Mortimer understands they're looking for a fun experience.
That's why he also formed the Millennium Running Social Club, a group that meets weekly in Manchester to run and then have fun at one of the city's bars or restaurants.
In the Seacoast region, the folks at LOCO Sports also understand this trend. The name of their series is "Will Run For Beer." Hello? What does that tell you?
On May 18 LOCO Sports, will produce the Funky Kingston Half Marathon in Kingston.
For those unclear on the concept, the town where the race will take place shares its name with the capital of Jamaica, birthplace of reggae. The LOCO Sports folks could have made their lives easier and held the race in the their hometown of Newmarket, but Toots and the Maytals never sang about "Funky Newmarket."
Take it away, Toots: http://tinyurl.com/kb9kpw7.
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RUNNING SHORTS: On Feb. 23 the Millennium Running team finished second at the Jones Ten Miler in Amherst, Mass., part of the USA Track and Field-New England Grand Prix Series. ... Also on Feb. 23, Gary Cuneo of Groveland, Mass., and Carrie Corbett of Wallinford, Conn., won the Half at the Hamptons Half Marathon. Corbett is a former Concord High School runner. ... Fat Tuesday 5K winners were Richie Spitsberg and Mary Klene, both of Manchester. . Busy day on March 15, with seven races scheduled to take place in the Granite State. Check out coolruning.com for a complete list.
Andy Schachat 's column appears every other week in the New Hampshie Sunday News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.