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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the winner's circle running club and their new year's day classic 5k and 10k - a celebration of running and the coming of the new year

The Winner's Circle Running Club and Their New Year's Day Classic 5K and 10K - a Celebration of Running and the Coming of the New Year
You probably know of it as the "Hangover Classic", twin races on New Years Day in Salisbury, Massachusetts, with an optional ocean plunge on Salisbury Beach. Stimulating! Race a flat (really flat) 10K or 5K along the sands of the Atlantic in the New Year, get your running off to a great start. Set a surefire PR for 2013, and enjoy the party with a DJ and libations arranged by one of the most prolific and respected running clubs in New England-real winners, for sure.

The Winner's Circle Running Club and Their New Year's Day Classic 5K and 10K - a Celebration of Running and the Coming of the New Year

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By Andy Schachat
Posted Saturday, 15 December, 2012

Everyone makes New Year's resolutions, and number one on the list for many people is improving fitness and getting in shape. This is especially true for runners and former runners, and also for wanna-be runners. Why not kick that resolution off on the first day of the year with a road race and, in particular, the 32nd Annual Winner’s Circle Running Club’s Hangover Classic10K and 5K Road Races. The races take place on January 1st in Salisbury, Massachusetts and have been a New Year's Day tradition for decades. The Hangover Classic starts at 11:30 at Salisbury Beach at the Carousel Lounge.

The Hangover Classic is the pride and joy of one of the premier running clubs in New England, the Winner's Circle Running Club. WCRC is an affiliate member of the Road Runners Club of America, serving Northeastern Massachusetts, Southeastern New Hampshire and Southwestern Maine. It is one of the key clubs in the venerable Mill Cities Relay Alliance of the Merrimack Valley. Whether it is hosting races throughout the year that bring in thousands of runners and walkers, scheduling weekly group training runs, or supporting youth running activities, the WCRC provides something for runners of all ages and abilities.

One of their key events is the New Year’s Day Classic, a.k.a. Hangover Classic. There are prizes for the swiftest: keepsake Hangover Classic mugs to 1st 40 male and first 40 female finishers of the 10K, and first 40 male and first 40 female finishers of the 5K as well. Awards for each distance include top three males and females in the open division and top three females and males in the following age groups: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80 and over.

The post-race party is a keeper too, and includes music with a DJ, adult refreshments, and a huge raffle at the Carousel Lounge (20 Ocean Front South, Salisbury, MA 01952). The fun also includes a unique challenge: an optional New Year's Day plunge in the ocean and special commemorative plunge mugs for all those who can stand the ocean in January in New England!! Of course, as with racing, you never know what the conditions might be on that day. We anticipate that it may be a little “cold”, but it is definitely invigorating and you have all afternoon to warm up with the warmth of the club and camaraderie of runners on holiday. Celebrate!

The Winner’s Circle Running Club
The WCRC takes pride in its accomplishments, and they are many. For 34 years the club has not only participated in the Mill Cities Relay they have won the relay 8 times and have placed in the top three all 26 times they have competed. They are the only club to do so, making top three, which means they are inscribed on the highly respected Mill Cities Trophy for 26 consecutive years. They did not compete for the first two years of the MCR, which will run for the 29th time on December 2. Only two other clubs Mill Cities Alliance clubs have come close to that: Greater Lowell has made the trophy 17 times, including 12 wins. The Gate City Striders, based in Nashua, New Hampshire, also made the trophy 17 times with five championships, including the last four consecutively.

The Mill Cities Relay is an invitation only relay race from Nashua, New Hampshire to Lawrence, Massachusetts, a 28.3-mile, five-leg jaunt along the Merrimack River. There are 20 running clubs in the Mill Cities Alliance, and together they field over 240 teams for this end-of-season classic. The Winner’s Circle finished an incredible first or second for 12 consecutive years and won five consecutive MCR championships from 2001 through 2005.

But WCRC takes the most pride in its charitable work. WCRC club activities raise thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations and club members actively organize events that help out local causes.

On December 9, 2013 WCRC will host the 18th Annual Winner’s Circle Running Club Santa’s Toy Trot, a 2-Mile, 4-Mile, or 6-Mile Road Race plus non-competitive walk and Santa’s Elves’ Fun Run for Kids. The race is run from Sweetsir School in Merrimac, Massachusetts, using a two-mile loop course Runners can gauge the competition on the run and stop after 1, 2 or 3 loops, maximizing their chances of winning an age group award in the selected distance. More importantly, the Santa’s Toy Trot has been providing toys and cash donations to the Merrimac Holiday Helper Program and Toys for Tots for every one of those 18 years.

With all the events the WCRC organizes and supports the Hangover Classic is perhaps its signature event. With the popularity of New Year's Day races growing in New England, the club rolls out the red carpet for one of the region's largest on January 1st. In 2012 the race drew around 1,000 participants. A quick scan of the results reveals runners from all over the New England region, and beyond, made their way to Salisbury Beach to run this one. And the race has grown in many other ways, and they now use the Chrono Track B-chip timing system, ensuring finishers will be accurately timed. Even in celebratory mode, runners want an accurate time and especially when it will be their fastest race of the year for certain.

In addition to their races and Mill Cities, you will see Winner’s Circle members competing in every large—and many smaller—races in New England, including the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, Mount Washington Road Race, Lake Winnipesaukee Relay, LOCO Events, and many more.

Other Winner’s Circle Club Races
In addition to the New Year’s “Hangover” Classic and the Santa’s Toy Trot, WCRC puts on races throughout the year—and helps out and participates in so many others. Those races include their 4-3-2-1 Speed Series, the April Fool’s Four Mile Race (March 30, 2013); Evelyn’s Run for the Roses (May 18, 2013); The Pat Polletta Two Miler (June 21, 2013); the High Street Mile (August 4, 2013); and the Wild Turkey Trot 5K Cross Country (Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013). Please see the Winner’s Circle Website for more detail on races, training, weekly runs, meetings, holiday parties, projects, and much more:

Celebrate the New Year in thee Best Way Possible-Run and Party!
Runners have the option of registering online or downloading a paper application. Entry information is available at the race's website: The courses for both the 5K and 10K are most definitely flat with few turns, and the 10K and 5K are both road races (not on the beach). Another New Year dawns in a few weeks. And a classic New Year's race, the Hangover Classic, will run for the 32nd time. They kind of go together, don't they? And don’t forget the Santa’s Toy Trot on December 9th to get into the spirit of the season.

For more information about the Winner's Circle Running Club go to For more information on the Santa's Toy Trot races go to



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