WHERE: 20 miles along the beautiful seacoast from Kittery, ME to Salisbury, MA (3 states!)
WHEN: Sunday, March 29, 2015 11:00 am
MANAGED BY: Don Allison, Race Director
PROFESSIONALLY TIMED BY: Cool Running **This race was NOT chip-timed, so all runners received a gun time not a net time.**
Taking into account that this race traversed 3 states, it was an extremely well-organized race. Runners who purchased a $5 bus pass at time of registration were bussed to the start in Kittery, ME from the Hampton Beach Casino and then back again from Salisbury, MA . Parking was free and easy to find in the casino lot, especially if you arrived early. Parking was also available on nearby streets. There were plenty of buses waiting to transport runners and once a bus was filled, it departed. Bus service was available from 7 – 9 am before the start.
After arrival in Kittery, runners were allowed use of The Traip Academy High School gym and restrooms. Bib and t-shirt pick-up also took place within the gym. There were just under 1,000 participants in this year’s race and there was plenty of room in the gym, hallways and even outside to sit down, organize your stuff, socialize, eat and stretch before the race. Bag check was also available which was nice to be able to bring clothing, gear and food that may be needed prerace and wanted immediately post race.
There was a lot of waiting time between getting dropped off in Kittery and the start of the race. One of the highlights of this time was when the race director acknowledged runners who ran in the 1st 20 mile in 1995 and those who have ran it every year since. Then he introduced Team Hoyt which brought most runners to their feet with loud applause.
In one word…SENSATIONAL. Truly. While running through 20 miles of the spectacular New England seacoast all your senses will be stimulated. The sounds of the crashing waves, the smell of salty-air, the taste of the ocean and surrounding bogs and marshes, the touch of the cool breeze, and the amazing natural beauty of this land to dazzle your sights! The course alone is a reason to run this race. This is a course to soak up along the way and let it provide some great inspiration (and distraction) from the task at hand…running 20 miles. DISCLAIMER: Mother Nature gave us an ideal race day with 42 degrees, sunny and light winds. This has not always been the case, for this late-March New England race. So, the fact is that some years may be easier than others to appreciate the natural beauty of this course. ☺
The course is USTAF sanctioned, flat, and for many provide a great last long training run for Boston. The course began in Kittery, crossed over Memorial Bridge into Portsmouth, followed 1A through Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, and over a bridge to the finish in Salisbury, MA. Course support was ideal with aid stations at about every 3 miles offering water and Gatorade, and later in the race some small snack items (M&M’s) as well. The roads were not completely closed to traffic, however there were plenty of police officers patrolling and directing traffic along the route. There were also pace groups available for various times.
The finish had runners separate into different chutes for the ½ marathoners and the 20 miler runners. As you proceeded though the chute, a volunteer ripped off the bottom portion of your bib which served as your official end time. You were given your medal and water was available. The buses to shuttle runners to the post-race festivities and parking lot in Hampton, as well as the bag check buses, were parked adjacent to the finish and easy to get to.
Credit: Beth P.
Credit: Alicia W.
1-A ALL THE WAY!!!!
SWAG: All participants received a race performance (not tech material but a wicking polyester) t-shirt and a finishers medal.
THE AFTER PARTY:
Runners were bused back to Hampton, NH from the finish. The bus stopped at The Ashworth Hotel where the food and awards ceremony took place or if you wanted to skip those festivities, you could continue on the bus to the Hampton Casino parking lot. The hotel and the parking lot was less than a ¼ mile away from each other. Given that this race started at 11 and it was now towards 3 in the afternoon, food was a definite priority at this time. The first food station had 3 soups to choose from: turkey noodle, minestrone, and beef barley. A hot cup of salty soup hit the spot. There was also pizza and cake as well as sodas and water.
A FEW MORE POINTS TO PONDER:
Overall, this is a great race and I loved running it. A challenging distance coupled with a beautiful day, picturesque course, and plenty of MRTT gals around made it a FANTASTIC day. However, I feel I should mention some elements of this race that are not necessarily negatives but maybe facts that some runners may want to know:
- Be prepared for a long day. We left the Manchester area at 7am and did not return until 4:30pm and that was without much “hanging around” after finishing the 20 miles. The busing to the start, running the distance, and busing from the finish takes a lot of time. Of course, you could shave off some of that time if you have a spectator or family member who is willing to drive you to the start and meet you at the finish.
- The start of this race was confusing. There was NOT an official start line (really!), no announcements/loud speakers, national anthem, etc. Unless you were in the first 2 rows of the lineup at the start, it was hard to tell when/where the race officially began. I just started running and started my watch when the people around me did.
- This race was not chip timed and there were no mile markers or clocks along the route. A GPS watch or phone app would have to be used if you were interested in mileage and pace along the way.
- Pacers had to rely solely on Garmins which due to a variety of factors brought some of the pace groups in late. It is very hard to accurately pace from just a watch.
- There was only water available at the finish line.
- No beer at the post race gathering at the Ashworth Hotel. C’mon…it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday and I just ran 20 miles….BEER ME!!!
(Nicolasa apologizes for the awful photos- I couldn’t download them and my computer was being weird so I had to get creative.)