Fall in Love with the Bradford Valentine Road Races
Chocolates? Flowers? A romantic candlelit dinner? Can’t decide what to get your special Valentine this year? How about racing together at the Bradford Valentine Road Races? These two races have all the makings for a perfect Valentine’s Day.
Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009
The 19th annual Bradford Valentine Road Races provide a unique opportunity on February 13th to run as a team—simultaneously—at different distances. Yes, there are two races; you combine scores with someone special and have a blast--plus it’s sure to make you breathe a little heavier and get your heart beating a little bit faster. The USATF-certified 5-mile and 6 K (3.7 miles) loop courses both start at 10 Church Street, on the Bradford Commons in Bradford, Massachusetts, at 10:00 a.m. Both races start out together and are combined for about three-quarters of a mile before parting ways. But don’t worry about parting; love—and the course—will bring you back together around mile three of the five mile race. This is a unique adaptation on who gets to the (same) finish line first. This also gives some mid-pack 6K runners a chance to run alongside the fast 5-mile racers for the final mile.
So you don’t have a special running Valentine this year? Don’t let that stop you! Participants aren’t limited to running only with a significant other. The “couple’s category” encompasses a range of configurations: husband/wife, father/daughter, mother/son, and the more general female/male open teams category. Individual sign-up is also available for either distance, and many runners do go solo. Because these are fun races on a sweet, largely rural course.
Is your mom or dad, daughter or son, wife or husband a college track star, but you’re just getting started on the running circuit and afraid you can’t keep up? There’s no need to worry. This race gives everyone with a love of running a chance to shine. The main rule is that one teammate must run the 5-mile course and the other teammate must run the 6K. So, plan your race according to each person’s strengths. Both racers’ times are added together; the team with the lowest total time wins that category. Aside from the competition, it is fun simply to have both teammates race against the clock and see how they do in their category.
Bay State Race Services provides professional race timing using the accurate, lightweight, and disposable ChronoTrack D-tag timing chip. That means you won’t have to waste time trying to remove your chip at the finish line. You can head right in for a little post-race relaxation.
Feel the Love
Everyone will feel loved on Valentine’s Day, thanks to race director John Burke and his team. Each finisher of the Bradford Valentine Road Race will receive a flower—courtesy of local sponsor, Flowers by Steve, and a small box of chocolates. There are prizes for individual winners of both the 5-mile and 6K races in each individual 10-year age group, as well as top three overall. Top couples in each category receive a 1-lb. box of chocolate and a commemorative medal.
The post-race goodies will definitely give you that warm, fuzzy feeling too. The only thing better than running a great course on a crisp February morning is hot soup, bread, warm cider, baked goods and fruit waiting for you at the finish line. A post-race raffle featuring prizes from many local sponsors will also benefit many participants. Who needs candlelight when you get all that? More accurately, this racing togetherness will likely lead to candlelight and sweet sharing later.
But don’t take my word for it; this race has received worldwide recognition in the running community for its sweet stuff. Runner’s World magazine will highlight the Bradford Valentine Road Race as best post-race “schwag” in its February 2010 issue.
Long-sleeve T-shirts are available for the first 400 registered runners. Race-day registration is available starting at 8:00 a.m., but you can save money—and prove that you didn’t forget to get that special person a gift this year—by signing up in advance.
Registration costs $18 through January 30, $20 thereafter and $25 on race day. Teams must sign up together, so be sure to read registration details carefully: http://www.baystateevents.com/Register/groups/default.aspx?newgroup=true&event=748. Chip and packet pickup begins at the First Church at 8:00 a.m. on race morning.
Where the Heart Is
No matter where you live in New England, Bradford, Massachusetts, is conveniently located—just 33 miles north of Boston, right on the New Hampshire border and Interstate 495, and less than 20 miles from the seacoast. Proceeds from the race stay local, too, including Bradford’s First Church, which doubles as race headquarters each year.
The Bradford Valentine Road Races continue to draw runners from a wide area because of the great organization, race amenities, attention to detail and distinctive personality. Although this race has grown steadily over the years, it still manages to maintain a manageable field size and a cozy hometown feel. And since it falls in mid-February, this event is a good way to keep up that running fitness throughout the winter.
Every good New England runner has learned to embrace the fickle winter weather. It could be 60 degrees and sunny one day, then snowing the next. This event takes place no matter the conditions—rain, snow, sun—so participants have learned to dress appropriately. Some people dress up and costumes are welcome, said Burke, but they are not required. Burke also noted that many racers are “repeat offenders,” or those that sign up year after year. If you haven’t run the Bradford Valentine in a few years, it’s certainly time to rekindle that flame. If you have not yet run this one you are in for a real treat.
Don’t wait for Cupid’s arrow to hit you in the Gluteus Maximus—sign up now for the Bradford Valentine Road Race: http://www.baystateevents.com/Register/groups/default.aspx?newgroup=true&event=748. This is your chance to be part of a great race, prove your love and show off your running capabilities—or at least your willingness to share a unique event in running with that special someone. Follow your heart to the Bradford Valentine Road Races this February. You won’t regret it.