The 97th Annual Patriots Day 5 Mile Road Race – A Great Race, Massachusetts Holiday, New England Tradition
An amazing 97 years and still going strong! The Lexington Patriots Day Five Mile Road Race is one of the oldest races in the United States, and for historic charm, one of the best.
Posted Tuesday, 22 March, 2011
From its humble beginnings in 1914, the race has enjoyed a fine reputation as a Patriots Day tradition for runners from Lexington, New England, and all over the country. It is a competitive race with hundreds of runners; also called the Lexington Lions Journey for Sight, and this year is the 97th running, one of the oldest road races in the country. It runs at 10:00 a.m. on Patriots Day, April 18, 2011 through the "Birthplace of American Liberty".
On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began at Lexington and Concord with a clash of arms known to history as the shot heard round the world. There isn’t a better time or place to be a part of history than in Lexington, Massachusetts on April 18, 2011. The race starts and ends on the Town Common, known since 1775 as the Battle Green. Come be a part of this historic race in this most historic place on the anniversary of the first day of the American Revolution.
There is no doubt that a race with this kind of longevity has a lot going for it. It has a terrific combination of winning features: a moderately challenging loop course, longstanding racing tradition in an historic town, terrific support, excellent race organization, and the perfect place on the calendar to test your spring conditioning as the season gets underway.
This historic race was started by the Lexington Athletic Association in 1914 as the Paul Revere Marathon. There were just ten runners. The winner of the race was Ralph “Curlie” Currier. The original trophy won by Currier was donated back to the Lexington Lions Club in 2006. It will be on display on Patriots Day at the race registration area and during the awards ceremony. In honor of Ralph Curlie Currier, his family has donated a trophy in his name, and this special silver cup is inscribed with the name of every first place finisher from 1914 to the present.
It is fitting that the race begins in front of the historic Buckman Tavern on Bedford Street and next to the famed Minuteman Statue of Captain John Parker. There is always lots of excitement and anticipation in the air as the muskets fire and runners speed down Massachusetts Avenue toward East Lexington onto Marrett Road. The clockwise course, with water stops at every mile, continues along Marrett Road. Runners will enjoy the challenge of this slightly hilly and winding stretch as the course turns right onto Lincoln Street. There it continues for about a mile passing Lincoln Park. Next, get ready to conquer a steep hill. When Lincoln Street ends, the course turns left on to Worthen Road and then turns right on to Massachusetts Avenue. The excitement builds again as the Minuteman Statue and the idyllic Battle Green beckon runners to the finish line. What a fantastic location to complete your tour of the town and to savor your running accomplishment with refreshments and fruit.
Awards and Post-race
An award is given to the overall first place finisher as well as the first and second place female and male age division winners. The age division categories start at 12 and under. There is also an award given to the first place team (four runners). The Sgt. Norman Carlson Award is given to the first place finisher from Lexington. The course records were set Natasha Roetter running in her hometown of Lexington (27:43) and Ted Fitzpatrick of Brighton, Massachusetts with a time of 24:30; both were set in 2002. Last year’s women’s winner was Justine Cefalu Greenlawn, New York with a time of 34:39; the men's winner was Paul Morris of Lexington with a time of 25:03. The Lexington High School boy’s team captured the team title. Enjoy and soak in the holiday atmosphere with excellent post race fare and history.
Patriots Day Celebrations
After the race and the awards ceremony, plan to spend the day in Lexington; this town is brimming with a variety of educational and entertaining opportunities to experience the best of the past and the present. The town has the proud tradition of hosting visitors from throughout the nation and the world who come here to follow in the footsteps of our nation’s first patriots. The citizens of Lexington look forward to sharing their history and heritage with you. In addition to the road race, a full range of Patriot’s Day activities are planned including historical reenactments and the arrival of Paul Revere, parades, and a pancake breakfast. Consider taking the Liberty Ride where you can board a classic trolley and ride along historic Battle Road while your costumed guide recounts the events of April 19, 1775. The Minuteman National Historical Park and the National Heritage Museum are among the many popular attractions that the town has to offer. Please visit the Town of Lexington website for updated Patriot’s Day information.
Lions Club Journey for Sight
The Lexington Lions Club is a shining example of the tradition of community service. One hundred percent of the race proceeds go toward Eye Disease Research through the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund. The Lions are known for their service to the blind and visually impaired, and have been dedicated to this cause since 1925, when Helen Keller challenged them to become “knights of the blind in this crusade against darkness”. The Lions accepted Helen Keller’s challenge.
The continued success of the Patriots Day Road race has allowed the Lexington Lions Club to help people with eye diseases and provide critical financial support for various eye research programs.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of this winning racing tradition that has lasted ten decades! There is no better way to celebrate Patriots Day and to set a spring running goal at the same time. What a wonderful way to mark this historic occasion by making your own running history. You will also be running to support a great cause –the Lexington Lion’s Club Journey for Sight. Make a day of it and experience all that Lexington offers. And since Lexington is conveniently located just 11 miles from Boston, you will still have time after the race to check out another great race – the Boston Marathon.
Registration will be available on line, by mail and on race day. T-shirts will be provided to all who preregister. Please check the race website at http://www.lexingtonlions.org/5MileRoadRace.cfm for additional details.