The Bradford Valentine Races –Twin Races for Couples on Valentine’s Day
This unique concept of pairing of simultaneous races, a five mile and a 6K, is just what every runner needs to bridge that chasm between New Years and spring—a fun event for all. Run singly or as a couple, but do run this race in Bradford, Massachusetts.
Posted Thursday, 5 February, 2009
Here is a unique February happening that you simply do not want to miss. Are you a runner? Do you enjoy running with others? Are you drawn to events that are really different and fun? Then these races are for you! The famous Bradford Valentine Road Races will actually be on Valentine’s Day this year, the third time in the 18-year history of the event for that to happen. (It won’t happen again until 2015.) But whether or not it falls on the correct day, this race is a unique February adventure for all. It is run from and to the picturesque Bradford Common. It speeds along mostly rural roads with both the five mile and the 6K sharing the beginning and finishing portions of the terrific course—a fast course in each case. The simultaneous start is also unique, with the split just before the one mile mark. Both are clockwise loops, and both are chip timed for quick and accurate results. Both begin at 10:00 a.m.
This is one of the few opportunities where couples can run as teams in two different races—combined times dictate finishing place in the wife/husband, female/male open, mother/son or daughter/father categories. The couples' competition is one of the most unique aspects of the race. What makes this team race different from others is that one team member must run the 6K race and the other team member must run the 5-mile race. This is by far the best Valentine’s Day gift you can possibly give each other.
Appropriately, Megan and John Valentine (real names) of Roxbury, Vermont won the father/daughter team competition once again in 2007 with a combined time of 56:45. Women’s five mile winner Kara Haas of Chelmsford, Massachusetts (29:57) also won the wife/husband category with husband Mike. The 6K women’s winner, Caitlyn Clark of Worcester (21:43) won the open couples competition along with Matt Germain. Chris Mahoney of neighboring Haverhill (26:21) and Timothy Catoggio of South Boston (19:02) won the men’s five mile and 6K respectively. All team winners, age group winners, and top three overall in each race receive custom medals.
This creative set of races and the scoring and prize structure are under the excellent direction of John Burke, race director. What began as a fundraiser for the host First Church has grown into a February institution and community tradition. Flowers (courtesy of Flowers by Steve, one of the many local sponsors-check the listing on the Race Website) and sampler boxes of chocolates are given to every finisher. And unique long sleeve T-shirts are given to all pre registered runners. Community involvement is very evident with all aspects of these races.
The flowers and chocolates are a big hit, but the favorite amenities are the homemade goodies given at the post race, including hot soup, bread, warm cider, baked goods, fruit and more. Raffles, many courtesy of those many sponsors, are always interesting and fun. There are prizes for both races in ten year age groups, top three overall, and top couples in each category. The camaraderie and excitement are palpable because there are few races in the first two weeks of February, and none with such a unique paring/scoring concept.
Race day registration will be available from 8:00 a.m., but you are encouraged to sign up in advance—save dollars and hassle. Chip/packet pickup will also be open from 8:00 a.m. on race morning. On-line registration is available or you can download an application from the Website. Make sure you check the rules on signing up as a couple—they must be done together and designated.
The event is easy to get to in Bradford at 10 Church Street. It is only 33 miles north of Boston and immediately on the New Hampshire border. It is conveniently reached by interstate, just off I-495, and about 15 miles from the coast. See the Race Website for easy directions. This is one fantastic set of races. They have that homey local flavor but get participants from all over.
This is an all weather event, and the races go on regardless of rain, snow, or shine. In the past the conditions on race day have ranged from cold to very fair and from dry to snow and ice. In past years the challenging weather has sometimes been a big part of the story and a large part of the feeling of camaraderie for all participants. Expect the unexpected because after all it is February in New England.
Whatever the conditions—and they have traditionally been very good—this is a terrifically fun event that you will not want to miss. Register today and be a part of this tradition. Form a couple for one of the four team categories and have twice as much fun with this unique pair of races. Better yet, bring lots of friends and encourage them to join the couple’s categories. Run together and warm your heart on this Valentines Day!