The Second Annual Chilly Half Marathon in Beautiful Newton, Massachusetts
If you are looking for an amazing running challenge, one that will define your personal best--along with the chance to make the world a better place--The Chilly Half Marathon is one race not to be missed. Run on a beautiful tree-lined course in foliage season, past historic structures, beautiful landscaping, and distinctive architecture.
Posted Sunday, 31 October, 2010
What a winning recipe for race success. Take a popular but relatively uncommon distance, find a somewhat quiet spot on the calendar, and then combine it with a leading charity foundation (the American Liver Foundation), and mix in a course on famous Heartbreak Hill—running in the down direction. Such was the creation last year when Kelly Fattman, founder and President of Fattman Productions of Newton, Massachusetts, decided to add to her menu of shorter distance races by creating the Chilly Half-Marathon, and partnered with the American Liver Foundation. And what a success it was!
The inaugural event in 2009 sold out in 8 weeks, with 654 finishers completing the course in warmer than expected conditions (in the mid-60°F range) for mid-November. Despite the crowd and the somewhat challenging terrain, Josh Gordon, 35, of Boston and the Boston Athletic Association hammered the scenic lollipop-shaped course in 1:16:56 (5:53 pace). The first female finisher was Madeline Marecki, 25, of Pleasantville, New York in a very cool 1:23:04, good enough for 7th place over all, and over two and a half minutes in front of her nearest competitor. Marecki chose the Chilly Half as a comeback race after recovering from an injury.
For those considering this exciting young race for their 2010 fall schedule, there are two ways to register. You can register for the standard race fee or run for as part of the charity team. The best way to participate is through a berth on the Liver Life Challenge program of the American Liver Foundation. The American Liver Foundation New England Division (ALF) knows about participation in running events. Its Run for Research Team, the oldest charity team in the Boston Marathon, is in its 23rd year and has 250 runners on the team. The ALF will be providing 100 trained volunteers at the Chilly Half Marathon to support the event on November 14, 2010.
Training is Available
Liver Life Challenge participants who pledge to raise at least $1,000 for the Chilly Half Marathon are given the VIP treatment, starting with 8 weeks of training/coaching with Liver Life Challenge mentors and Coach Jorge Martinez, starting September 18th. This alone makes trying the Chilly Half Marathon as a first-timer all the easier. They know what it takes to finish this distance, and the training program includes weekly training runs, and tips on nutrition and running gear. In addition to the training program, team members will receive team singlets, special bag drop area and race support, and, most importantly, exclusive port-a-potties! Participants who join as a team (6 runners or more) will be given personalized team singlets, a great incentive for work or family teams.
Running on the Chilly team for the ALF is not only a way to guarantee a number in the race, should it sell out again this year, but it also helps raise funds to help the 30 million Americans affected by liver disease.
It would be a difficult feat to run a fully flat race within the city limits of Newton, and the Chilly Half Marathon has a few rolling hills (the region is known as “The Newton Hills” by commentators during the B.A.A. Boston Marathon), but the race was designed purposefully to include a nice level start and finish. Runners leave from Newton South High School and briefly head south in the Chestnut Hill Village section, before turning north under Route 9, then across Beacon Street in the Waban neighborhood. This is the out-and-back section, where all the uphills also become downhills!
At about Mile 4 the course goes into the clockwise loop section along Lowell and Cabot Streets and turns east toward the grand Chestnut Hill neighborhood. Then the gradual climb starts after Mile 5 to eventually crest the top of Heartbreak near Boston College at Mile 8 before the swoop down to Mile 10. At this point on the course, those runners who dare to pause would be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Boston skyline. The final leg repeats the gentle start near the Charles River Country Club for an easy cruise into the finish at the high school.
Running in Newton
Newton is known as the “Garden City,” but it could just as easily be known for its outstanding residential architecture. In many of the Newton villages, broad leafy streets are lined with some of the finest examples of Victorian, Queen Anne, and Tudor style homes around. Whole neighborhoods that sprung up around the early 1900s display a variety of colors and styles unrivaled in Boston’s commuting neighborhoods. Newton boasts 180 structures on the National Register of Historic places.
In addition to the beauty of this course, the culture in the Newton area is racer friendly. According to Nick Giordano, who ran the inaugural event and who has completed 8 Boston Marathons with the Run for Research team, “The area just has such a running presence. The people of Newton ‘get it’ when it comes to running, and they come out to support the race. It’s a really nice course, with a few challenges, and a guaranteed good workout.”
Fattman Productions and Race Events
The folks at Fattman Productions know what it takes to put on a quality event and see to it that the participants and their families are well taken care of on race day. Safety is of primary concern, so 25 police officers marshal the road in addition to all the ALF volunteers. Five water/aid stations along the course ensure that runners stay well hydrated.
Fattman Productions offers three races annually in Newton. Each race provides a unique experience, and there is a race distance for all. They include the Bill’s Pizzeria 5K in October (October 24 this year) benefiting the Travis Roy Foundation; the Newton 10K in June (June 12, 2011) supporting the Judith Rose Shea Ovarian Cancer Foundation; and the Chilly Half Marathon in November. All races are professionally planned, timed, and certified. Please visit http://www.fattmanproductions.com/roadraces.html or e-mail Kelly@fattmanproductions.com for further information.
For the Chilly Half Marathon the start area is staged inside the school so runners don’t need to shiver outside while waiting to get going. For younger family members and friends, the start/finish area also includes face painting and a jumpy house, adding a carnival atmosphere for the kids to have plenty of fun while mom or dad goes out to run the race. Refreshments are provided by Whole Foods, so the celebration afterwards is nutritious and rewarding. According to 2009 finisher, Sheri Olivet, the food was one of the highlights of the event for her. She said there was plenty for everybody—snacks, granola bars, bagels—all good. Another fun addition at the finish was the giant liver-shaped mascot greeting the kids, even though not all of them knew what it was! Sheri says Fattman Productions has a good idea of what runners like and need at races. Very true!
For the speediest racers, awards are given to the top three finishers in 10-year age groups, with merchandize prizes donated by City Sports. The overall male and female winners receive a crock-pot (“The Fattman Pot”), for making their own chili.
This is the last half marathon in New England for the calendar year, so if you want a number, register early; or better yet, take the Liver Life Challenge and join the wonderful folks running to help 30 million other wonderful folks!
For more information or to register, please go to chillyhalfmarathon.com or call 617-935-9856.