The 20th Annual Bradford Valentine Road Races—It Takes Two!
You have run your turkey off; you’ve jingled all the way and then dragged yourself out of bed on New Year’s Day to get your race on. What’s next? Make a date with one of the most unique holiday running events in New England—The Bradford Valentine Road Races!
Posted Friday, 31 December, 2010
Now in its 20th year, this one-of-a-kind event continues to grow in popularity. This race combo offers runners the opportunity to feel the love, compete as two-person teams and get all hot and bothered on a crisp February morning. And it’s obvious why! If you’re looking for a new way to say “Be Mine” this Valentine’s Day—this is it.
On Saturday, February 12th, the Bradford Valentine Road Races allow couples to team up and race in tandem at two different distances—6K (3.7 miles) and 5 miles—through the streets of historic Bradford, Massachusetts. Both races set off at 10:00 a.m. from 10 Church Street on the Bradford Commons, and they travel together for three quarters of a mile before splitting, only to have the courses reunite about a mile from the finish. And both routes offer runners a good mix of fast and flat portions, some challenging rolling hills and a downhill finish. To view course maps and elevation, visit http://www.bsrs-timing.com/valentinerace/course_map.html.
The “couples team” format gives everyone a chance to run his or her best race. One teammate runs the 5-mile course; the other runs the 6K. Both runners’ finish times are added together, and the team with the lowest total time wins that category. Team categories are: open male/female, husband/wife, father/daughter and mother/son. In 2010, more than 100 couple teams finished the race, with the husband/wife division seeing the most competition. And race director John Burke anticipates higher registration numbers for all categories this year.
So you can’t commit to running on a couples team? You won’t feel left out this V-Day. Individual sign-up is also available for both distances. And who knows…maybe you’ll even get lucky and find that special someone at this year’s race!
The top 3 male and female runners in each race, first overall female/male across the line in 10-year age groups for each race, and first place team in each category will all receive custom, commemorative medals. And this year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary Bradford Valentine, awards will be given to the 20th male and female in each race. For a complete list of the awards breakdown, visit http://www.bsrs-timing.com/valentinerace/information.html. Bay State Races Services will provide professional timing for this event using the Chronotrack B-tag, a single-use timing tag embedded into your bib number.
Loving Every Minute of It
From start to finish, the Bradford Valentine Road Race is an expertly organized event. Burke definitely puts some T-L-C into its planning and execution. The first 500 registered runners will receive a specially designed tech-wick long-sleeve half-zip mock turtleneck. All finisher’s get a sweet reward as they cross the finish line—a box of chocolates and a Valentine’s flower from the lflorist, Flowers by Steve.
The sweet taste of success continues past the finish line, out of the cold and into the warmth of the First Church of Christ for a post-race Valentine’s Day feast that’s missing only the candlelight. Post race treats include hot homemade soup, hand-baked breads, fruit, yogurt, baked goods and warm apple cider.
In fact, The Bradford Valentine Races were voted “Best Schwag” 2010 by Runner’s World magazine, a significant achievement.
The meal wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of the congregation, said Burke. “Several members hit the kitchen at 5:00 a.m. on race morning to chop and cook all fresh ingredients to have kettles of hot soup ready for runners as they finish.” Proceeds from the race benefit the church as well as other local organizations.
All You Need Is Love….And $18
Registration is open and only costs $18 through January 20; the price goes up to $20 after that—which is still a bargain! Race-day registration will cost you $25, but don’t delay to ensure you get in on the reduced rates and the tech-wick race shirt. Teams must sign up together to be eligible for awards—check out the registration details online: http://www.baystateevents.com/Register/?event=2721. Chip and packet pickup begins at 8:00 a.m. on race morning at the First Church. Race-day registration is also available at the church at that time.
The Bradford Valentine Road Races continue to garner the attention of runners from all over New England. Located just outside of Haverhill, Bradford, Massachusetts is an easy 30-minute drive from Boston, and less than 20 miles from central New Hampshire and the seacoast. And the mid-February timing is perfect to help fend off the cold-weather doldrums that sneak in during those long New England winters.
Run the Bradford Valentine Road Races and you’ll quickly see what keeps past participants talking. There are several reasons why runners’ love for this race has only gotten stronger after 20 years! The event’s quirky couples team format, memorable courses and thoughtful amenities make it one of the most distinctive races you’ll ever run.
Be sure to mark Saturday, February 12th with a big red heart on your calendar so you don’t miss the 20th anniversary of one of the Merrimack Valley’s favorite mid-winter running events—the Bradford Valentine Road Races.