The 26th Ashworth Awards Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon-PR Course with Great Amenities
Your best road to Boston; qualify for Boston with one of the best club marathons in the USA. The Ashworth Awards Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon is one of those rare running club events with national class organization and amenities. Club marathons are unique races in New England and the Merrimack Valley, one of the top running hotbeds in the nation. These folks know what it takes to make this race your best chance to qualify for Boston! Run Baystate in Lowell, Massachusetts on October 19, 2014!
Posted Monday, 28 July, 2014
This race was developed 25 years ago specifically to be a high probability Boston qualifier, and since its founding the objective has been—and always will be—to qualify as many runners as possible. It is a PR course if ever there was one (click here to see the video)! And it is an all-volunteer organization—volunteers with years of race management experience; and many of them are outstanding runners too. They know what runners want and need.
The Greater Lowell Road Runners, legendary running club of New England, has two sayings that really resonate in the world of marathons: “For Runners, by Runners,” and “The Bridge to Boston runs through Lowell.” Both statements are appropriate and noteworthy because this flat, fast marathon course was designed by the club in 1989 to be a Boston Qualifier—and that was when qualifying required a 2:50 for men and 3:20 for women. Few other marathons boast such a high percentage of Boston qualifiers year after year. In fact, Runner’s World placed it in the top 10 nation wide.
This is a Club Race!— for runners, by runners. Both races are conducted with great care and attention to detail by the Greater Lowell Road Runners, a nonprofit running club. This is not a corporate race, nor a huge big city race, but it has everything necessary to be the ideal race. These folks have been in your marathon running shoes many times—they know how to help runners get that BQ or PR. Many of them ran their first BQ on this course, and they will support you all the way. Thousands have run their first marathon and/or first half marathon at Baystate. And because it is a club race it is also a very family oriented event.
Runner’s World included Baystate as one of the top 10 fastest marathons in the USA in their January 2012 article (and number ONE in club races). More recently, an article by venerable marathon man Hal Higdon listed Baystate as seventh among marathons funneling qualified marathoners to Boston. Of course number one on the list was Boston itself, and the top ten included New York and Chicago and other major players. Baystate takes great pride in the percentage of runners who qualify—25% each in the past two years despite the new more difficult standards.
Today’s stricter qualifying standards make it all the more important for runners to qualify at Baystate. The course is very similar to the original course designed 25 years ago specifically for running Boston qualifying times. Qualification numbers have been consistently high since the origins of the event in 1989. The larger running community has discovered what New Englanders have known for years: Baystate is the best chance to qualify for Boston or to log a fast marathon and improve your corral position at Boston.
The marathon offers cash awards to the top finishers: open, masters, seniors and veterans. Those outside the very top positions are not left out – ten-year age group plaques are awarded to the top 3 finishers in each division. Likewise, top finishers in the half marathon are awarded plaques, followed by ten-year age group plaques to the top 3 finishers in each division. Ashworth Awards will personalize each award with runner’s name and personal performance statistics. This is a great addition to any runner’s trophy room!
In 2011, the organizers moved start and finish to the Tsongas Center in Lowell, making pre-race and post-race comfortable for all. Located in the heart of the city, the start and finish areas are set among the fascinating canals and mills that first made Lowell world famous. You can warm up and take a little cool down jog along the Riverwalk, while you enjoy the scenic views of the canals and the Merrimack River rapids.
The list of amenities is impressive—even though it is one of the best values in race fees anywhere:
Your on-line registration transaction fee is prepaid by Greater Lowell Road Runners.
Personalized (name) race bibs and B-tag Chronotrack timing (by Yankee Timing Co.).
Bag check at the start.
Finisher medals by Ashworth Awards for all marathon and half marathon finishers.
Long sleeve Tech-shirts for all participants.
Digital clocks every 2 miles (marathon course).
Gatorade and water about every two miles.
Gel packs at approximately 7 and 17 miles.
Porto-potties on the course.
Free, all-you-can-eat pasta dinner (also open to friends and relatives for only $10).
Six different pace groups to assure qualifying times: 3:05, 3:15, 3:25, 3:35, 3:45, 4:00.
Superior safety support with well placed triage tent and full medical support at finish.
Trailing busses along the entire course to pick up all runners having problems.
Six hour course support.
There will be a free race expo on Friday and Saturday at Lowell High School, 50 Father Morissette Blvd. from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 17, and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, October 18, 2014. Race packet and shirt pick up will be available during those times as well. Please note that packet pick up will also be available on race morning from 6:00 to 7:30 a.m., but this is not recommended. Race morning is busy and runners may not make the start on time. Please allow plenty of time to get to the race and the start race morning. With 4,000 participants and hundreds of volunteers looking to park and warm up it does get crowded.
The pasta dinner will be held at Lowell High School on Saturday evening from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Again, this is FREE to all registered runners. Family and friends can join in for only $10 per person. As with this entire race weekend, this is an outstanding value—perhaps the best value in distance racing. For only $75 and $55 respectively for the full and half respectively (through August 1) runners get the shirts, meals, medals, personalized bibs as well as the outstanding course support and post race refreshments.
The Schedule for Race Weekend:
Friday, October 17—FREE Race Expo and number pick up 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 18—FREE Race Expo and number pick up 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 18—FREE Pasta all-you-can-eat dinner 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 19-- Number pick up at LHS from 6:00 to 7:30 a.m. (available but not recommended)
Sunday, October 19—Race Start at 8:00 a.m., both half and full marathon.
Race Headquarters, Expo, packet pick up, pasta dinner, late registration (if available and at a much higher fee) will be at Lowell High School, 50 Father Morissette Blvd., Lowell 01852. Both races start and finish near the Tsongas Center, 300 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Lowell, MA 01852. Being early to registration, early to number pickup, and early to the start on race day will be your best bet. Remember, the club pays your registration transaction fee.
Check the NEW Race Website for details on the Expo, number pick up, age groups, awards (cash awards for the marathon), amenities, directions, parking, race vitals, accommodations, course maps, photos and results, merchandise, contacts, social media, volunteer opportunities, Boston qualifying standards, FAQ’s and many other details: www.baystatemarathon.com
Register early – these races have both been selling out, usually in September. Don’t be left with runner’s regret. Take advantage of this outstanding event and an unusual value in distance racing. Set those goals for Boston or a PR in the marathon and half marathon, and achieve them at Baystate—definitely your best opportunity! Sign up now for the Ashworth Awards Baystate Marathon or Half Marathon. For additional details please go to http://www.baystatemarathon.com/.