The Twelfth Annual Good Times Spring Racing Series: 10 Races on Tuesdays with a New Venue
The Good Times Spring Series moves to Finn’s Pub in Lowell for the 2014 season. It includes ten different themes for 5K races beginning Tuesday evening, April 8, 2014, and running ten Tuesdays to June 10. This series is all about FUN, and provides a great week-night workout, with parties and celebrations after each race. This series is now famous as an innovative and always enjoyable workout and personal test with post race awards, raffles and surprises each week.
Posted Thursday, 27 February, 2014
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 spring the series home base will be Finn’s Pub, an Irish themed bar and grill at 76 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852, just 3/10 mile from the start and finish of each race at Post Office Square.
This inventive 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—and reward--they offer prizes every time a runner sets a Personal Record on the course—PR’s win the innovative Mylie Medal. To date over 7,500 personal records have been set at the Good Times Series over 11 previous years, including more than 1,200 in 2013 alone. These personal records are kept in the Good Times archives and compared with every finishing time for every individual, every race—an incredible store converted instantly at the finish.
The emphasis is on fun; on the concept that running and racing should be fun. The organizers of this event know running and racing—and how to enjoy the rewards and results. 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 last of the pack (including walkers), 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. www.goodtimesrun.com
It is all happening in historic, charming Lowell along those famous mills and the mighty Merrimack River that powered them. Take advantage of this wonderful course and enjoy a series that has become a mainstay on the racing calendar for many. It is a challenge to improve each week and creates a totally different comparison and reward.
Each race has individual prizes, of course, and 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 10, 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 volume of prizes that are awarded, but this is the best deal in running. There are sometimes raffles too or other surprises. If you sign up for the series it is only $10.00 per race for those 18 and over, and only $5.00 per event for 17 and under. Even those signing up for individual races pay only $15 per race. How can you go wrong with that? For a super enjoyable series--and to save--sign up now.
There are details on the race website regarding registration, 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. www.goodtimesrun.com to sign up today.
Race headquarters this season will be Finn’s Pub, 76 Merrimack Street, Lowell. Sign in and number pick-up each week, late registration, post race awards and celebrations will be held there. It’s a great venue for the series: www.finnspubma.com 978-710-4460.
These ten races, all 5K’s, will provide different, distinct themes for fun in historic Lowell and the Merrimack Valley! As participants race and try to improve 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 8, 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, the legendary Dave LaBrode, will welcome all and there will be overall and age group prizes (and PR Mylie’s for those who have raced previously and improved their time. You must have run at least one race previously to win a Mylie).
April 15, 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.
April 22, 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 29, Waking Ned Devine 5K: A salute to the Irish in this one, with prizes to overall winners and age group winners. There could be big money involved. Check it out. May the luck of the Irish be with you.
May 6, Mystery Night: Nobody knows what this theme will be until start time. It’s anyone’s guess, but you can be sure it will be a really fun night (They have one heck of a computer program to figure this all out, plus weekly total points and personal records).
May 13, 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 20, Runners Give Back 5K: This is a chance to help with a cause. Last year over $4,800 was raised for the benefit of local Boston Marathon bombing victims. Stay tuned for the announcement for this year. Most likely it will be related to the sport or to individuals involved with the sport.
May 27, Christmas in May: Jingle bells are not required, but many will wear them—and Santa suits. Age group winners and random finishers select presents from under the tree at the post race Christmas Party at Finn’s Pub.
June 3, Classic T-shirt night. Be creative! Run in a T-shirt from a race decades old, or a T-shirt with a message. Make your own and wow the field. Possibilities are endless and you will be amazed at how creative your friends can be—or how much of a nostalgia buff (or pack rat).
June 10, Affirmation 5K: This is a big night, the finale, with a wonderful awards ceremony and party—Mylies, Golden Mylies, Age group race winners, Age Group Series Champions—you have to attend this one. Fun for all!
Now in its 12th year, the Good Times has run on basically the same flat and fast course the last three years. The course has been adjusted a few times since it all began because of construction and growth. And it will be adjusted slightly this year because of the new University Bridge. 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 traffic-free 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 with nearly two miles along the river or on the Aiken Street Bridge or University of Lowell Bridge, crossing the Merrimack twice.
The start and finish are about a quarter mile from Finn’s Pub where registration and number pick up—and of course post race celebrations--are held. It is basically a clockwise loop beginning and ending at Post Office Square, just behind the Tsongas Arena (George 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, 70-79, and 80 and over.
Personal Records are tracked week to week and year to year. There are over 7,500 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 and the runner gets a Mylie for their PR that night. Amazing but true! Last year runners earned over 1,200 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 yourself.
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 one. Be a part of it! www.goodtimesrun.com