The 35th Annual Bridge of Flowers 10K and 3K—History and Tradition Beautiful Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
This classic race is built on tradition, competition, and the calming beauty of this Berkshire Highland village and region. A spectator-friendly, figure-eight layout provides a beautiful and challenging course in historic Shelburne Falls, a wee village on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Choose either the 10K or the 3K walk and fun run, and enjoy one of the best organized events in New England running. The USATF-certified course (and USATF team prizes) bring excellent competition and a great race environment in a bucolic New England town during a gorgeous time of year.
Posted Monday, 29 July, 2013
Excitement is building for the 35th annual Bridge of Flowers 10K, and simply put, it does not get any better for summer racing. They have team competition, cash prizes for teams and individuals, and Steve Lewis Subaru Charity 3K Walk and Fun Run. The 10K has a wonderful course, quintessential New England mill town, terrific organization, easy access, and a welcoming, celebrating community. It is an outstanding event and a favorite for many.
For runners in New England the Bridge of Flowers is as much a part of summer as going to the beach. On Saturday, August 10, 2013 nearly1,000 runners from throughout New England will return to Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts for the 35th edition of the Bridge of Flowers 10K and 3K races. Shelburne Falls is a delightful location for a race and the recent site of a movie set. It has been used as a set several times because of the natural beauty and the character of the town—river, architecture, and of course the wonderful Bridge of Flowers—the former trolley bridge across the Deerfield River is now a fantastic flower garden worth a visit. And it is immediately adjacent to the race start on the Iron Bridge and the race finish on Bridge Street. Beautiful and unique, this landmark is a must-see in New England travel.
The Bridge of Flowers is especially beautiful this time of year and is illuminated until 10:00 p.m. The river in this area is also a draw, with interesting geological features in the area of the falls and dam, including some 50 glacial potholes formed over thousands of years.
The 10K is a challenging two-loop course with the first two-mile loop north of the river being mostly flat. Just after crossing the Iron Bridge to the south (passing the start making it ideal for spectators), there is a 3/5 mile uphill that is a definite challenge. This begins the second loop, a four mile clockwise tour. The good news is that once you climb that hill and get to the half way point there is a long downhill and from there it is flat to down, including a fast finish.
The men’s course record for the 10K is held by Daniel Kihara, a familiar sight at the Mount Washington Road Race and former champion and record holder there. His Bridge of Flowers record, set in 1997, is 30 minutes, ten seconds. The women’s record was set in 2004 by Tatyana Pozdnyakova at 35:21.
For a number of years the race was a USATF-New England championship race—and maybe again next year--bringing the best clubs to this phenomenal race. Team prize money and individual cash prizes for the 10K race guarantees the field will be strong.
This race has also seen some of the best of the New England running competition as well. Both races have age categories in five-year increments.No ageism here. Folks 70 have always been free!
It started in 1979 in conjunction with the Bicentennial Celebration and continues under the direction of the race Founder, Mike McCusker. McMike, as the race director is known, has a terrific committee and many, many volunteers that make this event a prize draw for so many. See the race website for a wealth of information on registration, history, area information, directions and parking, prizes, photos, results, course profile, contacts and volunteer opportunities accessed from http://www.shelburnefalls.com
This is easy to get to; it is right on Route 2 and the next town west from Interstate 91. On race day they will have registration and number/packet pickup beginning at 7:00 a.m., but don’t delay and save some money over race day. Online registration closes at midnight on August 8. Take advantage of pickup on Friday and attend the Spaghetti Fest and get that terrific energy—as well as enjoy the camaraderie of other runners in this bucolic setting.
Yes, late registration will be available, but don’t delay in signing up. Save money. And preregistered runners receive the unique commemorative T-shirts for this outstanding classic (artfully designed each year and a keeper, a classic). For further information go to the race website accessed from http://www.shelburnefalls.com or contact the race director as noted in contacts.
Not surprisingly the race has terrific sponsorship and an enjoyable post race party overlooking the falls where runners celebrate the accomplishment and enjoy post race refreshments as well.
The course—and the challenge--accounts for part of the reason for the big turnout. This area of Massachusetts is a sightseers dream, drawing tourists from all over. It’s made all the more so because of the rich history of the towns along the river and the unique geography and geology. It is a great place to run, so get there and experience a great race in a wonderful place. There is a festive atmosphere that surrounds the race. And there is an unmistakable charm associated with the Village of Shelburne Falls.
All the work for an event this size requires an organization committed to doing the job right. Thank them and thank the terrific sponsors. And enjoy the race! Mike McCusker 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. This year’s 10K and 3K will be 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 accessed from http://www.shelburnefalls.com.