East End Road Race – You can do it!
Mention the East End Road Race in Lowell, Massachusetts to anyone who ran in it and you’ll get a wide eyed response and certainly a story or two. The race is legendary in the annals of New England road racing. The locals revered it, the participants loved it and all the greats ran it.
Posted Sunday, 10 June, 2012
It was one of the most popular races in the Merrimack Valley for a quarter century. Then in 2007 the race date was moved from its popular July niche to September. Shortly before the start of the September event, the 26th running, the East End Club announced that this would be the last of the fabled East End Road Races.
During the preceding years the East End Road Race was designated a prominent role in New England running folklore. Old timers couldn’t stop talking about it; new runners heard their stories and wished they had been around to run it. Every year there would be a rumor or two about the race returning, but the rumors would never materialize...until now!
The race is returning after a five year hiatus. The 27th edition will take place on July 22, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. from the East End Club, located at 15 West Fourth Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. This time it is under the auspices Dave Camire and Sean Donnelly. Both experienced race directors, they have collaborated on some of the more popular Merrimack Valley races, such as Lowell’s 1st Run and the Wild Rover Series. Camire is also founder and director of Lowell’s Good Times Series.
“Our goal is simple,”says Camire. “We want to provide a great experience to our participants and organize an event that does justice to the great races the East End Club has staged in the past. This has always been the best race in a city of great races. We are going to do our best to continue that great tradition.”
This is not your father’s East End
While Camire and Donnelly are respectful of the great tradition of past East End races, they also realize that the taste of runners has changed over the past five years so appropriate changes are planned.
The course will be the same as in previous years; however the similarities stop there. “We are giving the race course a technology facelift,” says Camire. The race will be chip timed using the revolutionary Chronotrack B-Tag. However, the East End Race is taking chip timing to the extreme. Both the start and finish along with each mile will have a timing mat. This will allow runners to get splits for every mile along the course. Additionally video screens will be positioned at the post race party so runners can get instant results, courtesy of the Yankee Timing Company.
Other course changes include placing digital clocks at each mile, adding Gatorade to the aid stations, and coning off a runners lane along the busy section of Lakeview Avenue.
Can you survive East End?
Hopefully all the extras along the course will give you a boost since this is not a “mamby pamby” 5 miles. Although the start is very flat and the finish slightly downhill the middle miles will test your mettle. It is challenging, which has always been part of the allure. The first major hill starts at about 1.7-miles. Over the next 7/10th of a mile you’ll gain almost 100-feet in elevation before heading downhill to the next challenge at the 5K mark. Here you’ll encounter another sneaky little climb before sailing mostly down hill to the finish.
Now if the hills on the course don’t get you, then the temperature probably will. Historically the East End seems to land on the warmest day of the summer, which sometimes turns a five-mile jaunt into a survival test. At the East End Five Miler you get your finishers’ medal the old fashion way – you earn it!
And there are other changes from the old days. If you are into serious race Swag; then this is the race for you. The first 200 entrants receive a collectable East End technical hat. All entries received by July 5th are guaranteed a soft cotton, “I survived the East End Road Race” throwback t-shirt. July 5th is also the cut-off date to receive your personalized bib. These Olympic style bibs will feature your first name prominently front and center making you feel like a champion.
All finishers will receive a commemorative East End Road Race finishers’ medal. This work of art was designed and manufactured by Ashworth Awards. If you have received a finishers’ medal at Lowell’s 1st Run, or the Wild Rover Series, or the Good Times series you are familiar with the quality work of Ashworth Awards. These guys bring some serious bling to the table and you’ll have to do some serious running to earn it.
And then there’s after race party . . . . Yes, this is the part many remember so fondly: the hills, the heat, and ahh....the refreshment.
"We paved a parking lot and put in a paradise after race block party”
East End Race participants not only run hard, they party harder. The after race party will include a BBQ with hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, salad, chips and frosty, cold Budweiser. There'll also be live music so bring your chair and spend the afternoon at the East End’s asphalt paradise. Is there any better way to commemorate the summer and running? We don’t think so.