The Famous Yankee Homecoming Ten Mile and 5K—Tradition and Competition for 52 Years in Newburyport, Massachusetts
Yankee Homecoming means tradition, a warm night and a beautiful course on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Whether you choose the 5K or traditional 10-miler, these races have great organization and amenities. They have excellent competition and a great race environment in a beautiful New England seaside town during Homecoming celebrations.
Posted Monday, 11 June, 2012
For runners in New England it is as much a part of the summer schedule as going to the beach.
That's why, on Tuesday night, July 31, 2012 thousands of runners from throughout New England will return to Newburyport, Massachusetts for the 2012 edition of the Yankee Homecoming 5K and 10 Mile Road races.
Through the years the race has been a who’s who of the New England and Northeast running scene. The men’s course record for the ten miler is held by Simon Karori, a familiar sight at the Boston Marathon in the early 1990’s. Karori set the Yankee Homecoming record in 1994, running 48 minutes, one second. For a number of years the race was a USATF-New England championship race—and maybe again next year--bringing the best clubs to the race. Prize money totaling $4,300 for the ten mile race guarantees the field will be strong. The 5K history, while more recent, has also seen some of the best of the New England running competition as well. Both races have age categories in five-year increments with running shoe gift certificates offered as prizes.
It started in 1960 with 30 runners who finished the original distance of eight miles. As word spread and the running boom grew, so did the Yankee Homecoming event. A shorter race was added (the distance alternating between 3 miles and 5K) and the race’s popularity soared. In the mid-1990’s the event hit its peak when over 2200 finished the ten miler and close to 1000 ran the shorter event. www.yankeerace.com
Not surprisingly the race has evolved in its 52 years. Over the years, as technology has changed the face of road racing, Yankee Homecoming has kept up with the times. From manual timing to chip timing, and now Chronotrack timing, Yankee Homecoming has provided the best services to runners. For a number of years the race has also had an announcer proudly calling out the names of runners as they approach the finish line.
The course accounts for part of the reason for the big turnout. Newburyport is a sightseers dream. With the sun setting on the old federal style homes and the run through the waterfront section of town runners get a wonderful view of a New England seaport town at its best. Runners finish to large cheers as an announcer calls out names. As one writer once put it. “It is a surreal racing experience.”
Part of that experience comes from the spectators. The race has been around so long that people equate its name with high level racing and a well-organized event. What do you think “Yankee Homecoming” stands for? The race is part of a week long celebration in Newburyport, so you can imagine the festive atmosphere that surrounds the race. Folks line the street during the first half of the course when the runners are downtown. In the last five miles the course weaves through a residential section of town. It is a disappointment if there aren’t at least five parties or barbecues during that part of the race. It feels like a mid-summer’s smaller version of the Boston Marathon.
All the work for an event this size requires an organization committed to doing the job right. In 1960 the race was organized by the Newburyport Jaycees. In 1980 the Newburyport Lions Club took over and has been running things since, with Jon Pearson serving as the race director. Jon is one of the longest serving race directors anywhere,now in the 30th year, and he heads a terrific race organization. Dozens of volunteers spread out from the registration and start area to points all over town make sure the runners are taken care from start to finish.
It can also not be understated that having an important local business step up as race sponsor is as valuable as any other part of the race. In 2012 Provident Bank returns as sponsor, guaranteeing a successful night.
One obstacle that runners often have to battle is the heat. This is New England and it is mid-summer. Some years the runners have been lucky to have cool conditions but on other occasions, like 2006, the temperature has risen. Not to worry. The Lions Club has official water stops while the spectators also chip in. Almost every mile someone will be out there handing out something to drink but one word of caution. If one of the cups being offered comes from a spectator it may require proof of being 21 or over before consumption.
This year’s Newburyport races will be held on July 31. Imagine a beautiful summer evening in the delightful town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Each year, hundreds of runners in both the 10-Mile and 5K enjoy a breathtaking course through this bucolic seaside town, running along the ocean for several miles before winding through a state park and charming New England neighborhoods. The Yankee Homecoming 10M and 5K are truly picture perfect. Make sure you are a part of it.
Are you ready to register? Need to know more? The race’s website is www.yankeerace.comwww.yankeerace.com