Down East Sunrise Trail Relay | Race Recap

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Race Location: Ellsworth to Eastport, Maine

Race Date: 7/20-7/21/2018

Race Managed/Timed By: Crow Athletics

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): The Down East Trail Coalition, who maintain the trail

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pickup is at the starting line of the relay 30 minutes before your team’s start time. Teams have a staggered start depending on the estimated finish time of the team. Start times run from 5:30 p.m. Friday to 1:00 a.m. Saturday.

Organization of Race: The race was well-organized; we received our start time the week of the race & the race started on time. There were a lot of details provided on the website and in the driving, running, and race packets. On the course there were markers at the hand off points, and markers at tricky turns for both runners & drivers. Once the race started, there wasn’t much oversight. There were port-o-potties at a few exchange points but not at most; there was no oversight at the exchange points, & there were no medical personnel. The course is broken into 16 legs and teams can have a maximum of 8 people. Teams have to run a 12 minutes mile or faster.

Course Description: The trail system is gorgeous, as are the surrounding areas. The race is 102.7 miles total, with 85 on trails and the rest on roads. The course is broken into 16 legs. The Down East Sunrise Trail is a rail trail with a mostly sand & gravel surface. The exchange points were pretty easy to find & had enough side of the road parking for teams. There were 42 teams this year, which was double their team number from last year. This is the 5th year of this race. At the leg 13 exchange point, the ATV club offered bathrooms & homemade breakfast starting at 3 a.m. The race organizers hope to build more local support in coming years. Eastport is the eastern most city in the US and the sunrise is spectacular to see as a runner or from the car! The sunrise started around 3:30 a.m.

Spectators/Energy: The teams and runners were very supportive of one another, and there was a positive, albeit tired, energy throughout the entire relay. There were no spectators on the trails, but teams cheered on runners along the road portion of the race & the downtown Eastport finish line. Mostly the energy was from runners & teams supporting each other.

Swag: A hefty medal with the state of Maine & rail road ties. The ribbon around the medal shows all of the legs of the relay! In order to keep costs low, the shirt was for sale, and not part of the registration cost.

After Party: Was held at the Quoddy Bay Lobster restaurant. Wait times were long, so we just got ice cream & hung out for awards to be given.

Other Thoughts/Comments: This was my first relay, so I can’t compare it to Reach the Beach or other relays. I loved the experience and the challenge of this relay, and also being able to explore northeastern Maine. It has a rustic feel since it is on trails, and has few facilities available, but I think that adds to the unique challenge and adventure of this race.

~ Erin M.

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Goffstown Berry Classic | Race Recap

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Race Location: Goffstown

Race Date: July 21, 2018

Race Managed/Timed By: Granite State Race Services

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Goffstown Historical Society

Organization of Bib Pick Up: The organization of the bib pick up was an easy and pleasant experience. The volunteers greeted me with their happy faces and offered to keep my bag under their table.

Organization of Race: The race was very organized through Granite State Races as well as providing plenty of spectators and other volunteers to make the event run smoothly. Each participant was provided with a map of the course at the time of registration. There were enough spectators/volunteers to direct us on the right path and also give us the enthusiasm we need to keep the positive energy flowing. Last, the Goffstown Historical Musesum was open so we were able to use their restroom before and after the race.

Course Description: The course started across the street from the Goffstown Historial Society. We ran to the intersection of Parker Station Road and Rt. 114. Police officers provided their assistance by stopping traffic so we could run across the street on Rt. 114. We then turned left on to Parker Station. I believe this is where our first water stand was at but I am not sure since I didn’t take a cup. Next, we crossed Howe Bridge and turned left onto River Road. We ran east on River Road then turned left onto W Union Street. At the turn, we were greeted with volunteers who provided us with water. We continued to run on W. Union Street till we had to turn left on Rt. 13. We ran on Main Street then directed to take a a left on Church Street. We continued running north on Church St. till we hit the intersection of Rt 14. We were then greeted with police officers who helped assist us to run across the street to continue running west on Rt. 114 back to the Goffstown Historical Museum. Overall, the race was a beautiful 5-mile loop along the Piscataquog River and through Goffstown village. The course was provided with enough water stations and spectators to help us complete the race.

Spectators/Energy: All of the spectators provided a lot of energy and cheered us on during the course of the race.

Swag: The first 50 runners received a maroon Goffstown Berry Classic T-shirt and at the end of the race we were treated with some yummy strawberry shortcake. It was absolutely delicious!

Other Thoughts/Comments: Can’t wait till next year’s race!

~Kat K.

Hugh Holt Memorial 5 Miler | Race Recap

IMG_6646Race Location: Raymond NH

Race Date: 7/8/18

Race Managed/Timed By: 3C Race Productions

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Scholarships for children in the summer program in town.

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pick up is in the lobby of the middle school. I arrived about 5 minutes before the race started, grabbed my bib and shirt, and was ready to go.

Organization of Race: This race is tiny! There were about 45 people there this year. The timing and organization is very low key, but it works since it’s so small. There is no starting arch or anything, but a little S spray painted on the ground in front of the school. There are water stops every mile (yay!) where the volunteers also yell out the time on the clock. One weird thing is some times the water stop is randomly on the other side of the road. Timing is done manually, so there are no chips on bibs.

Course Description: The first mile or 1.5 is pretty flat. Then it’s rolling hills for the whole rest of the way. Some of them are kind of big, but most aren’t too long. It’s doable!

Since the course is not posted online, here is the turn-by-turn:

  1. Start at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School.
  2. Right out of the school onto Epping St.
  3. Left onto Church St.
  4. Right onto Main St.
  5. Left onto Old Manchester Rd.
  6. Left onto Batchelder Rd.
  7. Left onto Old Fremont Rd.
  8. Left onto Main St.
  9. Finish on Main St. at the commons about .25 from the start

Spectators/Energy: This race is during the Raymond town fair, so there are some spectators on the common that you pass during the first mile and at the finish. The rest of the race is through back roads and is pretty quiet.

Swag: Cotton t-shirts for the first 60 runners. Since it’s so small everyone got a shirt.

After Party: Water, sports drink, some fruit and snacks on the common.

Other Thoughts/Comments: I’m not really sure why this race is so small. Raymond is in a great location between the seacoast and Manchester and everyone is always looking for 5 milers and 10Ks! A lot of the runners (out of the 43) are actually pretty fast. I ran a 10:30 average pace and I finished 34/43. There is no reason all those normal people runners shouldn’t come out and enjoy this loop! It’s also extremely cheap at only $20.

See you out there next year!

~Jessie A.

Mont Vernon 5k & 10k | Race Recap

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Race Location: Mont Vernon, NH

Race Date: May 19, 2018

Race Managed/Timed By: 5k Sport

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Neighbor to Neighbor

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Easy peasy. It’s a small race, so I walked up to bib pick up about 30 minutes before the race and got my bib and my shirt. There was no line for day of registration, either.

Organization of Race: Not much online presence and no early bib pick up, but the actual race day organization was great. Everything was laid out, the announcer kept on top of things, and a fun atmosphere. Parking is a bit hit and miss since the race is part of the Spring Gala so it can get a bit crowded.

Course Description: Hilly 5k course with the 10k going back out for a second lap. You go right through the center of Mont Vernon, then out past the post office and off into the back roads. In the 10k, it was about 450 feet of elevation gain. Both the 5k and the 10k go up Grand Hill one time. On the second lap the 10k skips that (thank goodness). It’s a lot of quiet back roads and running up cul de sacs. There’s one water stop at the two mile mark. Wooded, pretty, quiet run with a spectacular view at the top of Grand Hill. You’ll be tempted to stop for a picture.

Spectators/Energy: At the finish line and through the middle of Mont Vernon, there are spectators cheering for you. The rest of the course is just you and the trees. It’s a small race and not at all crowded or loud. For the 10k second lap, there were only 15 runners and you’re out there pretty much by yourself.

Swag: Cool t-shirts with the Mont Vernon cow.

After Party: Short award ceremony and free massages

Other Thoughts/Comments: Quiet, small race. If you want the opposite of lots of loud music and crowds, this is the race. Not for someone that hates hills. I’ll probably do it again next year.

~ Catie P.

Stonyfield 5K | Race Recap

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Race Location: Kingston, NH

Race Date: May 11, 2018

Race Managed/Timed By: LOCO Races

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): LOCO does donate to charity, but this race was not for a specific charity.

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Day of bib pick up was organized and easy. Located at a big tent near the parking and start area (that was later the beer tent).

Organization of Race: The Stonyfield 5k is usually very organized. The new location this year was no different. Plenty of parking and porta potties. It was nice that parking was close to race start, etc. instead of in lots across the street, etc. like at the former race location. They did not close the road where the start/finish was until close to race time so it made getting there and parking easy. There were 1,150 walkers and runners. They had walkers start at the back of the start area.

Course Description: The course runs through residential side roads in Kingston, NH. It includes 4 small hills–just enough to make you work a little–and lots of turns. The course was not closed to traffic but was well marked and the roads were not heavily traveled by cars anyway. If you ran the previous Stonyfield 5k course in Londonderry, this course was easier in comparison.

It’s a family friendly event and there is often a race or obstacle course for the children. Many families choose to run or walk the race together.

Spectators/Energy: The energy of the Stonyfield 5k has always been great! As far as spectators, they were mainly at the start/finish area. However, a few of the families living on the course did come out to cheer on the runners.

Swag: If registered in time, you get a shirt at bib pick up, but no other swag. Previously, they were cotton. This year they were tech shirts and came in a men’s or women’s cut. However, there are many vendors on site giving away samples to take or consume, as well as the opportunity to win additional items. Age group winners usually receive some LOCO swag and maybe something from one of the vendors. Each bib included 2 beer tickets, this year and last year; Harpoon was the beer sponsor.

After Party: Awesome! Lots of samples from vendors as well as hot dogs, a beer garden, and live music.

Other Thoughts/Comments: This race is part of LOCO’s Will Run for Beer Series so it usually draws a big crowd of runners and also has a large amount of walkers. It’s a fun event for families and friends to enjoy together. The “fair” of vendors is free to the public–you do not have to race to attend and enjoy the fun and free stuff!

~ Amanda N.

Martha’s Vineyard Marathon | Race Recap

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Race Location: Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Race Date: May 19, 2018

Race Managed/Timed By: USA Endurance

Organization of Bib Pick Up: At our time of bib pick up, which was the middle of the allotted time frame, there was only one person working the table. They had numbers for you to line up at according to your bib number placed on a list, but it didn’t matter because there was only one person at the table. They had you sign a second waiver as well. Not sure why (I know shame on me for not reading it) because we already signed a waiver when we registered for the event. They did add an additional same day bib pick up, but I heard scuttle that it was also unorganized and they gave out incorrect information.

Organization of Race: Awful. They had conflicting information on their website in different places. They only advertised for pacing up to 4:30 for the marathon, but had additional pacers available (ultimately I was pleased to see the addition, but it would’ve been nice to know about in the first place). Mile markers were moved, mile markers were also stolen, the final water stop was unmanned when many of the “slower” racers went through, there were nearly no bikers for first aid support and a portion of the course that had been promised to be paved by race day was not, resulting in running on dirt road.

Course Description: Miles 1-15 were bike path around a state conservation area. With two exceptions (one being a very pretty farm and the other being an airport) there was only short trees with little variation to look at. Miles 16-20 were around a marshy area which was pretty in some spots and had beautiful large houses to view. Miles 21-24 were through town with lots of turns, sidewalks where you contended with cars entering and exiting businesses along the route (you had to run on the sidewalk because the roads were too narrow to run with the cars). Miles 24-26 were mostly ocean views and crossed two bridges (one of which was the “infamous jaws bridge” but having crossed it, I still don’t know which one that was. The finish takes you through a field where you’re concentrating on your footing so you don’t trip or roll an ankle before the finish.

Spectators/Energy: None. Literally none. There was one family out cheering around mile 15 and that was it with the exception of the family members of those running who make the ferry trek out to the island to support their loved ones.

Swag: Decent. A tech t-shirt, a cute print buff and a cross shoulder bag and the finisher medal is cool.

After Party: None. After paying over $100 you cross the finish line and get a choice of bottled water, Gatorade and a banana. That’s it.

Other Thoughts/Comments: Unless they put some serious thought into making this race itself better (the island dwellers aren’t going to participate and make the race spectacular) then they should not continue to hold this race. Martha’s Vineyard is pretty, we enjoyed our time there, but we enjoyed it because of each other, not because of the island. The course is just meh, and they should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of after race food, amenities and the such. Also of note, many of the shops/restaurants weren’t open yet to enjoy either.

~ Nicole G.

Big Lake Half Marathon | Race Recap

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Race Location: Alton, NH

Race Date: 5/19/18

Race Managed/Timed By: Loco Races

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Organized bib pick up, separate line for shirts.

Organization of Race: I thought the race itself was well organized, there were plenty of signs and volunteers at any corner. There could have been a few more signs around the registration/start line area because I mostly relied on the people calling directions out.

Course Description: Hilly. Hilly. Hilly. Beautiful scenery, flat first few miles before an approximately 2 mile climb up towards the parking lot for Mt Major in Alton before coming down through rolling neighborhoods from miles 7-10. Last few miles back down Route 11 towards Alton Bay.

Spectators/Energy: The stretch on Route 11 was a little quiet, the water stop had a lot of energy which helped. Some spectators were out in the neighborhoods and at big intersections. Lots of spectators at the end as you ended at Shibley’s on the Pier in Alton.

Swag: Technical t-shirt and a medal.

After Party: I have heard it’s good, pizza, beer, and ice cream but I personally didn’t try it.

Other Thoughts/Comments:: Train on hills! Its beautiful (and hey now its my PR so I guess you could say its a PR-able course)

~ Danielle F.

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