The BayState Marathon—All-American Race In An All-American City
The resurgent All-American city of Lowell is home base for the BayState Marathon, a race riding 15 years of tradition wrapped in 200 years of history.
Posted Monday, 6 October, 2003
Baystate and the Merrimack River symbolize power, energy, scenic beauty, and oh yes, BayState is the fastest marathon around. Punch your ticket for nearby Boston—qualifying time is here.
The BayState Marathon and Lowell, Massachusetts are close to Boston, and that is fitting. Lowell is a true renaissance city, and BayState symbolizes the dynamism of the region. It reflects the growth and innovation that have marked the Merrimack Valley as one of the great running regions in the USA and beyond. From these traditions, the BayState Marathon and Half Marathon were born, as was the accompanying Lowell Sun 10K. Athletes running the BayState Marathon have the best chance to qualify for Boston or to run a PR. One year nearly 50% of the field qualified. This could be your year.
BayState offers a very fast course through historic Lowell and along the beautiful, tree-lined, silvery waters of the Merrimack River. The rich, vibrant colors of fall foliage reflect on the water and energize runners, as do the falls that powered the famous mills. The Baystate races will run on Sunday, October 19, when the colors explode and weather in New England is ideal for racing. The course is flat, fast, and fun.
It's really flat - the bridges are probably the highest points, rising perhaps 15 feet
It's really flat. "The bridges are probably the highest points, rising perhaps 15 feet," said race founder Dave Camire.
BayState is the dream marathon for every runner. Experienced runners rely on it as their best possible chance to qualify for the BAA Boston Marathon. Rookies realize their first marathon experience is nearly guaranteed to be completely terrific. Charity runners are drawn by the tremendous support and super organization. BayState will help charity runners to design and post her or his own Website to chronicle the effort and accept online contributions. For many reasons BayState has become an international magnet for those seeking fast times.
Jack Kerouac, literary icon and one of Lowell's favorite sons, grew up and wrote in Lowell. He wrote On the Road, among many others. Could he have been thinking of your marathon road? He was an athlete, and was involved in several sports at Lowell High School (where showers are available to runners after the race, by the way). Bette Davis grew up in Lowell too, as have many others who sprang from the sturdy foundations of the city that was once one of the largest textile producers in the world.
Baystate symbolizes the renaissance nature of this emerging destination city. A few years ago travelers largely bypassed Lowell in route to another location. And a few years ago marathoners of BayState simply ran through Lowell in route to the finish. No longer. Lowell is now a destination, and the three races reflect that. Lowell is back. The races begin adjacent to the state-of-the-art Tsongas Arena, home of the Lowell Lock Monsters, the Eastern Hockey League entry.
All three races finish in beautiful LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners, the AA farm team of the Boston Red Sox. The Spinners take their name from the looms, bobbins, and shuttles, which spun and wove millions of yards of fabric in these mills. The Lock Monsters' name comes from the six miles of canals and locks, which transported the energy of the Merrimack to the humming, spinning looms. The Merrimack Valley is a hotbed of running and racing; perhaps it is fed by the industrious traditions of the mill cities.
Facilities and Amenities
BayState offers distinctive long-sleeved T-shirts, and medals for marathoners and half marathoners. The race provides pre race day number and shirt pickup Monday through Saturday. A bus will take baggage from start to finish (one mile). There will be professional photography at the finish. The awards, top three overall and 10 year age groups through 70+, will be given at gorgeous LeLacheur Park. Changing facilities and showers are available at Lowell High School.
The three races begin 10 minutes apart, with the starts each geographically separated by several historic blocks in downtown Lowell. The 10K blasts off at 8:00 a.m., followed by the half marathon at 8:10 and the Marathon at 8:20.
These races offer much more than a fast course. Both the marathon and half marathon take runners on scenic loops—different loops—which both cross the mighty Merrimack River four times on different historic bridges. The 10K, the more southerly of the three courses, crosses over the river and back to LeLacheur Park. The palpable spirits of workers past seem to add energy to racers as they trace their own history.
The three races will allow all friends and family to experience Baystate at a comfortable distance, depending on their level of fitness. As for the city, the mills and structures are not silent, not vacant. They house the shops, restaurants, and museums that help fuel the dynamism. The National Historic Park and those many museums tell the stories of the past; as new ventures, sports venues, and Lowell's running community point the way to the future.
The present super power industrial might of the United States is built on the solid foundations of these red-brick mills. For many, BayState is the foundation of the running season. Whether the goal is Boston, the Olympic Trials, a PR, fundraising, or simply to experience the marathon or half marathon, Baystate is the place to be on the third Sunday of October. Feel the energy.
Lowell symbolizes innovation from the Industrial Revolution to the Running Revolution. The roads of Lowell and the route of the Baystate Marathon traverse that history. Yankee ingenuity, forged and tested with the mills and their technology, is alive and well in the innovative and inventive BayState races and in the community at large. The Baystate Marathon mirrors the city and its dynamic energy. Come to Baystate. Experience Lowell. Get On the Road.