Where: N’awlins Grille, Manchester NH
When: 2/17/15 at 7:00 pm
Managed by: Millennium Running
Professionally timed by: Millennium Running
Can be selected as part of the 2015 Elliot Millennium Running Series
I wasn’t signed up for this race. It just wouldn’t work into my schedule. I had consoled myself a million times over with the reasons. Then, my schedule opened up at the last minute and well, I couldn’t resist! I think you ladies feel me? Many of you even took the time to encourage me via our Facebook group as I argued the ‘should I’ or ‘shouldn’t I’. Of course, I did! Thank you for your words!
With purpose and joy, I conquered post work traffic, daycare pickups, an outfit change, found parking and rushed to the registration table at the back of the Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant on Elm Street. It was worth it, after all, this was Fat Tuesday! I was thrilled to be able to join up with the MRTT ladies for a celebration run! It was dark and cold that evening, although truly not as ridiculously cold as it has been for the majority of the past month. There had even been snow fall just a day or two before the race and the sidewalks downtown were trashed with inches of slush! This seemed like a crazy idea! That said, it was a relatively small group of runners lining up at the start line! Less than 700 runners of the anticipated 1,200 actually participated. There was however, a definite party feel in the air as we lined up!
The lovely Donna Sarasin found me at the start line and we quickly bumped into Brooke. With cautious optimism, we were all ready to rock!
The recent snowfall, I am sure, made this a challenge for both Millennium Running and the City of Manchester to host. Many hours were put in to making the course as clear as possible to provide us all with an enjoyable experience. Even so, the course was challenging due to the recent weather conditions affecting the roads. The direction was well marked however, and the course had many volunteers. That said, it would have been nice to see some traffic cones or volunteers giving warnings near the bigger potholes. The course honestly was a bit treacherous in spots! Bibs were not available for early pickup for this event but were available pre-race at the Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant. Timing chips were attached to the bibs and net times were available immediately at the finish line at the “timing truck”. Also available at the finish line, as always, was pizza sponsored by Portland Pie, yogurt samples sponsored by Stonyfield and of course water or Powerade. This event had great post-race festivity offerings with so many local pubs, bars and eateries close by. Millennium did a fabulous job negotiating the free beer ticket to be redeemable at so many great places. Millennium, for the most part, has it’s events down pat with very few issues!
Thank you to all the wonderful Millennium volunteers as well as the Manchester city police officers who take care of us runners!!!
- Tech Shirt: The first 500 registrants received a themed tech shirt. I registered at the last minute so I didn’t receive one BUT I heard from many MRTT ladies about how much the shirts are liked! The shirts do look fun! I am so jealous! Enjoy ladies!
- Drink Ticket: One drink ticket for all 21+ registrants (ID Required) redeemable at your choice of: N’awlins, Maggie’s, Shaskeen, Strange Brew or The Pint. With so many great options it was hard to choose where to redeem the ticket!
- Mardi Gras Gear: For merely showing your sneakers at N’awlins Grille you could receive Mardi Gras beads and a masquerade mask. Unofficially many of the local establishments had plenty of gear to hand out. I think I even saw some being tossed out windows!
- Personalized Bib: If you registered 30 or more days in advance, your Fat Tuesday themed bib was personalized with your first name!
Starting in front of the N’awlin’s Grille we all headed south on Elm St. The slush made the right hand turn heading down Merrimack St a bit of a challenge! The crowd was very thick at the start of the race so finding a lane to run in was tricky. I can only imagine how much worse the crowding would have been at this point if all 1,200 runners had participated! Truly, I think most people were afraid of sliding straight down Merrimack St hill which led many to be cautiously slow causing the initial crowding! All runners proceeded right onto Canal St which was dark and full of potholes (no fault of Millennium of course). Canal St has a gradual incline as it becomes River Rd and that was emphasized with a right turn UP North St. This street leads up to Elm St where runners headed North and then turned left after about a block down Webster Street. The volunteers stationed on Elm were sure to yell out “it’s mostly downhill from here”. Webster St is where the water station was located, manned with more volunteers. A left turn back onto River Rd / Canal St had us heading back towards the finish line. Runners navigated the potholes down Canal until taking the left turn UP Merrimack St. The indomitable John Mortimer, founder of Millennium Running, stood at the bottom of the hill doling out encouragement and high fives! “Just one last hill”! How can that not get you up the hill? Thanks John! A left turn back onto Elm St and the finish line was before us!
The After Party:
As I mentioned, there were so many great options for redeeming your free beer ticket so you could essentially choose your after party! Many of us from MRTT met up at Maggie’s. Maggie’s bartender was handing out beads, rubber bracelets, Mardi Gras masks and blinking necklaces. The small bar was quiet at first but quickly filled up as the night wore on. The atmosphere was relatively mellow and allowed for great MRTT socializing. I was happy to meet some of you whom I hadn’t met in person before. I also loved hearing your stories! Many selfies were taken, a group shot was done and another race was in the books. I believe some also wandered out for a group dinner at Portland Pie! Nice job ladies! See you next race!
Don’t forget to check out Millennium Running’s Fat Tuesday Video Recap! You’ll see a few GMMRTT Members!