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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the eleventh annual good times spring racing series: 10 terrifically fun races on tuesday evenings

The Eleventh Annual Good Times Spring Racing Series: 10 Terrifically Fun Races on Tuesday Evenings
The Good Times Spring Series includes ten different themes for 5K races beginning Tuesday evening, April 2, 2013, and running ten weeks to June 4. This series is all about FUN, and provides a great week-night workout, with parties and celebrations at each race. This series is now famous as an innovative and always enjoyable workout and personal test with post race awards, raffles and friends gathering at Hookslide Kelly's Sports Bar.

The Eleventh Annual Good Times Spring Racing Series: 10 Terrifically Fun Races on Tuesday Evenings

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Good Times Spring Series Website

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 22 March, 2013

Every Tuesday night hundreds of runners-veterans and beginners alike-gather in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts for a running series like no other-the Good Times Spring Racing Series. This inventive, creative series with playful themes and amusing prizes has become exceptionally popular in the Merrimack Valley with a lovely, scenic course along the river and mills, inspiring many to test themselves week after week. Adding to that test, they offer prizes every time a runner sets a Personal Record on the course-PR's are rewarded with the innovative Mylie Medal. You could potentially win 10 Mylies, one every week, plus the huge Golden Mylie for running all 10 races; but more about that later.

The emphasis is on fun; on the concept that running and racing IS fun. The organizers of this event know running and racing-and how to enjoy the rewards and results. I have worked with this team on many occasions, and believe me they are dedicated to the sport and to the participants. They want everyone to do well and to have a great time in the process. And all runners, from the fleetest to the end of the pack, are treated as race and party guests. Everyone has a chance for prizes-not just the Mylies, but a chance to actually win in some of the events. See Good Times Series.

It is all happening in historic, charming Lowell among those famous mills and the mighty Merrimack River that powered them. Take advantage of this wonderful traffic-free course along the water and enjoy a series that has become a mainstay on the racing calendar for many. Hookslide Kelly's is located at 19 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852; the outdoor patio, where the post race celebrations take place, backs up to Paige Street, just off Bridge Street (Hookslide Kelly's).

Each race has individual prizes, of course. But so does the series overall. During the 10 weeks of racing all participants score points based on their time as a percentage of the winning time. After the final race on June 4, these points will be totaled and the top three overall women and men, and top three in each age division will be awarded beautiful plaques as series champions.

We don't know how they do it, given the prizes that are awarded, each race is chip timed and this year everyone gets a finishers' certificate, but this is the best deal in running. If you sign up for the series it is only $8.00 per race for those 18 and over, and only $5.00 per event for 17 and under. That right, $80 gets you in for the entire series (or $50 if you are a kid)! Even those signing up for individual races pay only $10 per race. How can you go wrong with that? This is only about fun and a super weekly workout, but in the mean time save the $20 and sign up now.

There are details on the race website regarding registration (online and mail-in), directions and parking, course information and maps, past results, prizes, scoring, PR listings, descriptions of each race, and a little about the history of the event, and more. Go to to sign up today.


"Wow, a weekly series that sends me a personal e-mail after every race with MY results and a finisher's certificate."


The Events

These ten races will provide different, distinct themes for fun in historic Lowell and the Merrimack Valley! As participants race along the mighty Merrimack River and try to increase their pace each week, this will be a running party, chance for camaraderie and lasting friendships, as well as a training series. Here is a brief description of each:

April 2, Opening Nite 5K This is always a fun time as new runners join and previous participants meet each other to discuss which has been their favorite race or party moment. The race announcer, legendary Dave LaBrode, will welcome all and there will be overall and age group prizes.
April 9, BYOB (Bring Your Own Buddy) Unusual in that each registered runner can bring a friend to run for FREE. The only requirement is that they have not run Good Times before. What a wonderful way to introduce family and friends to this imaginative 5K run. It does include walkers, by the way-usually a separate start.
April 16, Rose Maguire's Great Mill Girl Chase Women start two minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the guys. Women try to stay in front, and guys try to catch and pass as many as possible. Cash prize to overall winner and awards to age group winners.
April 23, Waking Ned Devine 5K Anyone can win one million dollars! It time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day again! Wear your best green outfit and compete for most festive Irishman (woman) prize.
April 30, Tranquility Base 5K Weight, gender, age graded-all are equal, and weight divisions apply (They have one heck of a computer program to figure this all out, plus weekly points and personal records.)
May 7, Christmas in May Christmas in May: Jingle bells are not required, but many will wear them-and Santa suits. Age group winners select a present from under the tree at the post race Christmas Party.
May 14, Still We Believe Baseball themed, and going back to 2003 before the Red Sox won the series. Prizes include tickets to see the Red Sox stars of the future, the Lowell Spinners at Lelacheur Park. Raffle also included.
May 21, Be True to Your School 5K Wear those school colors: kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school, non-conformist school, college, reform school, cross-country team, track team, school of hard knocks-it does not matter. What matters is the Run and Graduation Party after.
May 28, Reverse the Course 5K Age group prizes, Mylies if applicable-all things are equal except the course runs counter-clockwise instead of clockwise.
June 4, Affirmation 5K This is a big night with a wonderful awards ceremony and party-Mylies, Golden Mylies, Age group race winners, Age Group Series Champions-you have to attend this one.


The Course
Now in its 11th year, the Good Times has run on the same flat and fast course the last two years. The course has been adjusted a few times since it all began in 2003 because of construction and growth. But essentially it has remained the same basic loop, and two thirds of it is immediately along or over the Merrimack River. Much of it is on the River Walk, aka the Yankee Division Trail. This River Walk is a tremendous resource for the region and especially for residents of the city of Lowell. The Good Times Series takes full advantage of it with nearly two miles along the river or on the Aiken Street Bridge or University of Lowell Bridge, crossing the Merrimack twice. Fully 95% of it is off road.

The start and finish are about a quarter mile from Hookslide Kelly's where registration and number pick up-and of course post race celebrations--are held. It is basically a clockwise loop (except for reverse the course night) beginning and ending at Post Office Square, just behind the Tsongas Arena (Ayotte) Garage.

The course circles the garage, bypasses the Tsongas Arena and heads directly for the River Walk. It goes north and west along the river, under the Aiken Bridge, past Lelacheur Park (home of the Lowell Spinners), and the UMass Lowell dorms and continues north to the UMass Lowell Bridge. It crosses the bridge to run on the other side of the river on the sidewalk along the VFW Highway, adjacent to the main part of the UMass Campus and the university athletic fields. The course continues downstream or southeast to the Aiken Bridge, crosses the bridge to the River Walk and retraces back to the triumphant finish. There are two water stops on the course and water at the finish.

Points, Mylies, Ages and PR's
Points are awarded each week based on percentage of the winning time. And of course the more races you run the more points you score. The overall winner (woman or man) would be awarded 1,000 points for the race, or 100%. For example, if the winner ran 15:00, a participant that ran 23:00 would be awarded 652 points, or 65.2% of the winning time. Each person competes in their own age division: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and over.

Personal Records are tracked week to week and year to year. There are over 5,000 PR's logged in the system. Each week the computer compares all participants' times to their listed PR, and if they run a second or more under that listed PR, the system alerts race officials that the runner gets a Mylie for their PR that night. Amazing but true! Last year runners earned over 1200 Mylies, a very attractive disc about four inches in diameter with a distinctive Mylie Smiley face. Everyone loves them, and they provide a different kind of competition-a race against time and against yourself.

"Now this is the way running should be."


As noted, overall series winners (top three) and top three in each age group will receive plaques as series champions. However, an equally coveted award is available to all-the incredible Golden Mylie. These are the largest race medals in New England, beautifully crafted by Ashworth Awards (as are the PR Mylies, plaques and all Good Times awards). They are gold plated, four inches in diameter and over a quarter inch thick with that smiley face.

They Can't Promise You a Fast Time but They Do Promise a Good Time
Just be there. You can't earn a Golden Mylie unless you run all ten, so sign up now for the series and challenge yourself-the most enjoyable weekly workout you will do. Yes it is competitive, but Good Times participants are also very supportive of each other and want to see as many as possible win awards-Mylies and more. And it is fun to enjoy a beverage following each and every one of the 5K races. Be a part of it! See Good Times Series for more information.



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