The Mass Dash--Running Across Massachusetts for the Jimmy Fund
This will be the first running of the highly anticipated Mass Dash Relay, July 17-18, 2010 from Mount Greylock in northwest Massachusetts to Boston Harbor near the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library—your team, 12 runners, 206 miles, 32 towns, 36 legs, 24 hours, and a chance to do tremendous good.
Posted Thursday, 8 July, 2010
This is new! This is different! This is a relay running across Massachusetts and its many wonderful regions from the Berkshires to Boston Harbor; from the base of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. There are many wonderful sights and enticing points of interest along this scenic overnight trek across the Commonwealth. It’s a 36-leg journey through dozens of towns, along captivating scenery, and quintessential New England forests, villages, farms and waterways.
This first annual Mass Dash for the Jimmy Fund is presented by Title Partners Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and Kittredge Equipment, enabling organizing volunteers to put on an outstanding event right out of the gate, providing even more funds for the Jimmy Fund and cancer research.
This is a truly extraordinary relay route, and after reviewing the course I can tell you the scenery is terrific, the course is challenging, but it easily accommodates a variety of runners from beginners to experienced distance devotees. Teams can assign legs in any sequence and combination. One third of the 36 are rated “easy”; one third are listed as “moderate”, and one third are rated “tough”. Some of the tough ones are elevation challenges—up and down--and some are rated tough because of distance. But the legs are reasonable lengths, varying from 3 to 8.9 miles: there are 21 legs under six miles (six under four), and only six are seven miles or more. The majority of the “tough legs” are in the first third of the course, with only one (#24) in the last third. There are terrific descriptions and maps on the race website so check out www.massdashrelay.org for details.
Covering 206 miles, running 36 legs with up to 12-person teams, on a sweet summer weekend--this is THE relay for those who love running and are motivated by running for a great cause. And you don’t need to be a veteran runner to do it—teams are great that way. Whether your first relay or 100th, the feeling of accomplishment and contribution to this cause will inspire the entire team. Teams will celebrate; they will enjoy the camaraderie that only a distance relay can bring; and will proudly recall helping the Jimmy Fund and the work of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, while building memories and friendships for a lifetime.
Here is the best part: The Mass Dash was created and organized in its entirety by volunteers. And it is solely for the purpose of raising funds for cancer research at one of the foremost research facilities in the world, Dana-Farber. This is a community adventure for all, and an experience in teamwork and camaraderie that is hard to match in any other sphere or athletic endeavor. The dual goals of reaching Boston Harbor and raising thousands of needed dollars to fight this insidious disease have teams already motivated and raring to go. Some corporate teams will use this as a tremendous team building exercise worth many times the modest entry fees.
The Route—Variety in Terrain and Scenery
The Mass Dash begins at the foot of Mount Greylock, the Mount Greylock Visitor’s Center near Onota and Pontoosuc Lakes. The first two legs climb Mount Greylock. The first heads up the south flank via Rockwell Road, and the second climbs the remaining 1,100 feet to the summit, crossing the Appalachian Trail with the second handoff at the War Memorial Beacon and Bascom Lodge. On a clear day you can see for miles from the summit, including mountains in four states.
There are two overriding themes with this course: beautiful state lands and institutions of higher learning—some of which host relay points or handoffs.
The first three legs are partly or fully within the Mount Greylock State Reservation; it then goes through the Western Heritage State Park only a few miles from the New York border. Other state lands along the route include the Savoy Mountain State Forest—beautiful leg including the challenging run up Savoy Mountain; others pass alongside the Mohawk Trail State Forest, South River State Forest, Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation, near the Connecticut River Greenway State Park; Mount Holyoke Range State Park; the Quabbin Reservoir; the Quaboag River and Pond Wildlife Management area; and Whitehall, Hopkinton, and Ashland State Parks. Along this same theme, though not state lands, the next to last leg runs through the Arnold Arboretum, and the final leg through Franklin Park.
Institutions of higher learning along the route abound, beginning with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams (fourth leg) and the adjacent Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Runners will visit three of the “Five Colleges”, including a Bon Fire and songfest at UMass Amherst (at McGuirk Alumni Stadium) around midnight—near the halfway point on finishing leg 18. After a run through Amherst College there will be another handoff at Hampshire College (the other two, Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College are not far away, of course). Other relay handoffs include College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Northeastern University, Dedham Campus, and UMass Medical School in Jamaica Plain. Runners also pass Wellesley College. There are many elementary schools and secondary schools along the way used as relay points, and the Mass Dash ends at UMass Boston on Columbia Point at the edge of the Boston Harbor.
Other route highlights include running through the covered bridge at Charlemont, and a great stretch of the Deerfield River (crossing and running parallel for many miles), and by the Bridge of Flowers and the glacial potholes at Shelburne Falls, the Connecticut River, Mount Sugarloaf, Quabbin Reservoir where runners will traverse the Winsor Dam in the moonlight of the wee hours; storied Hopkinton and the first two miles of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon course; and more beautiful forests, ponds, fields, rivers and streams than you can count. And there will be additional special and unique touches: for example, the Saturday evening mid race barbeque, and a Sunday morning breakfast for runners and volunteers. And of course the finish line party, complete with live music and a New England clambake! The natural beauty of Massachusetts and its many lovely regions—Berkshires to Sea--will be on display throughout.
And Here is the Primary Reason Why!
Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund are important for every runner. And every runner can do this even if they have never raced before! This is the time to make your running mean something more. You can dramatically increase the value of every mile your team runs. It is a great feeling to know that you can give something back through the sport you love. Set your team goals—pace and time as well as fundraising--and lend a helping hand in the fight against cancer simply by doing something you enjoy.
Spread the word, gather your friends; get your running club involved. Everyone will want to participate in this priceless relay experience, especially when you can make a difference in the lives of individuals battling cancer. There is no better inspiration and motivation for maintaining or increasing your running goals than the satisfaction and joy of knowing that your application fees and fundraising efforts will enable Dana-Farber researchers to achieve better cure rates and enhance the quality of life for many cancer patients.
This is an ideal time to redefine your personal best by combining personal fitness goals and commitment to a healthy lifestyle with a meaningful, worthwhile cause. Explore new territory, not just on these 200 miles of Massachusetts roads, but within yourself. Reach beyond what you thought possible for yourself as well as for those in the determined fight to reach the ultimate finish line--a cure for cancer.
Dana-Farber and The Jimmy Fund
The Mass Dash will be supporting the renowned pioneering Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund. Dana–Farber’s mission is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer, while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of cancer and related diseases. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute also provides training for new generations of scientists and physicians, designs programs that promote public health, and disseminates innovative patient therapies, support information, and scientific discoveries across the United States and the world.
Since its founding in 1948, the Jimmy Fund has supported the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world. The Jimmy Fund has played a vital role in the successful treatment for once incurable childhood cancers.
Join in and Run the First Mass Dash
Yes, this is an all-volunteer organization and 100% of the proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund, but they have created a very professional, well organized event. Thanks to the outstanding support of Title Partners Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and Kittredge Equipment, they have every detail covered. This team has done a terrific job to assure a wonderful running experience for all. Run the Mass Dash—the experience will leave you breathless. Check it out at: http://www.massdashrelay.org