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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the groton road race -- top notch event for competition and family fun

The Groton Road Race -- Top Notch Event for Competition and Family Fun
Mark your calendar for April 25, and write in the Groton Road Race. For competition and for family fun and photos, you cannot miss this opportunity.

  
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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 26 March, 2004

The Groton Road Races have become a must-do tradition for many. They provide top competition in the 10K and the 5K, plus a timed 2K fun run for families and beginners. Additionally, there will be terrific photo opportunities during the Tot Trot for the tiny tikes. All four events will be happening on Sunday, April 25 in picturesque, historic Groton Center. These are outstanding races and children’s events; they are exceptionally runner and walker-friendly, whether you are an experienced competitor, a mid pack runner, or a beginner.

GROWING BIGGER, GETTING EVEN BETTER

Groton’s 10K Road Race was first held in 1992, and volunteers now have it down to a science. This is a terrific 6.2-miler that has earned a reputation for exceptional organization with all the amenities. The competition is excellent and it is very popular—after all, there are not very many of them around anymore. And the 5K, first run in 1997as a “stepping stone” to the big race, is now a terrific competition in its own right. Now in its eighth year, is among the best races in the region. Competition will be outstanding for both, and both are run on USATF-certified courses. But these events are also very family-friendly. The main events will be run separately, so mom can run the 10K, and dad can sprint the 5K, and take turns with the kids and cheer each other.

The 2K is timed, but not scored so everyone is a winner. And this “official” run is a great chance for mom and dad to run with the kids, either as a warm-up for the other races, or simply to participate together. The 2K is completely inside the school grounds, so it is very safe even for very young kids, and provides several loops in the 1.24-mile course so grandparents can run with them or take videos and photos. It is “spectator friendly”, as well as runner-friendly.

The Tot’s Trot is a really popular event, and gives even the smallest kids the chance to experience success in running—and moms and dads a chance for success with the camera. Finishers’ ribbons are awarded to every participant in both the 2K and the Trot, and all receive racing bib numbers. Every child in the Tot Trot is guaranteed a T-shirt.

Both the 2K and the Tot Trot will be held on the grounds of the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, Route 119 in Groton. The 10K and 5K begin and end there, and both larger races are beautiful, scenic loops through the historic village and on rural roads. Springtime’s flowers and buds should be a welcome sight by race day along the entire course.

THE SCHEDULE, REGISTRATION

Festivities will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Tot Trot (on grass, distance by age group 20 to 300 yards), and then the 2K will run at 11:30. The 5K will blasts off at 11:50, with the 10K start at 1:00 p.m. The 2K will be timed with digital clocks. The 10K and 5K races will be computer timed using the “Winning Time” computer chip. Space is limited for each of the four events, so please don’t get shut out.

This is a very innovative race in many ways, including registration. For example, runners age 65 and older run free, and kids have a reduced fee. Kids 6-and-under register for only $7 online; those 7 to 17 for $11. Those 18 to 64 can register for $16 online. There are slightly higher fees for mail-in registration.

Just keep in mind these events are for pre-registration only—there is no race day registration. This will take the hassle out of race day, and everyone can enjoy the event. There will be over 2,700 participants, and space in all four events is limited, so please don’t delay in getting your registration in.

Number/packet pick up will be at the Groton Dunstable Regional Middle School on both Saturday and Sunday, race day. Saturday numbers and T-shirts are available from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; or may be picked up on Sunday, race day from 9:00 a.m. The Squannacook River Runners are the host club and provide many of the outstanding volunteers and administrators of these races. There will be live music before, during, and after the races.

PICTURESQUE, HISTORIC COURSES

The 10K course is a clockwise loop that tours the historic town as well as surrounding farms and pastures. The elevation at the start and finish is 307 feet, with a course low of 260 and high or 364, so it is rolling but comfortable running. There is a little test on the uphill grade from mile 3 to 4. The highest point in Groton is 516 feet. The course will be closely monitored for traffic, with friendly volunteers along the route manning splits and the 2 and 4-mile water stops. Farms and pastures predominate on much of the course, which lies on or south of Main Street.

The 5K course is a counter-clockwise loop on Main Street and north, including some of the most historical and oldest parts of the village. It includes a water stop at the half. Both courses finish triumphantly on the high school track. The region is known as the Nashoba Valley region, and Groton encompasses the confluence of the Squannacook and Nashua Rivers.

COMPETITION

In addition to the record-setting performances, there have been some outstanding battles and achievements in both these races. Kara Hass has won the 10K twice, finished second four times, and third once. Nicole Slane of nearby Milford, New Hampshire has finished second in the 5K for four consecutive years—the first of those when she was 10-years old. Dave Dunham is a two-time 10K winner and has been involved in some classic battles.

Mary Lynne Currier is not only the record holder, but a two-time winner—and she has the two fastest times ever. Last year Chris Teague not only won the 5K, setting the course record; he also was the runner-up in the 10K. Tom Carroll of bordering Dunstable set the master’s record of 33:18 in the 10K in 1992, and Joanne Scianna established the women’s masters’ record of 36:04 in 1994 and is tied with three others for the third best all time.

349TH YEAR, GROTON FUN FACTS

Groton is located in northwestern Middlesex County in Massachusetts, just minutes off Interstate 495 on Route 119. It is 35 miles from Boston, and 10 miles south-southwest of Nashua, New Hampshire. It is the largest town territorially in Middlesex County, spreading 32.54 square miles. There are approximately 10,000 residents. It is governed by old-fashioned New England Town Meeting.

Groton was founded 349 years ago in 1655, although it was a frontier trading post well before that. The original size was double that of today, and several surrounding towns were carved from its borders over the years, including territory in what is now New Hampshire.

Plans are well underway for the 350th Anniversary Celebrations, and everyone should mark calendars for this year as well as for 2005 when the entire town will be celebrating.

As with many New England villages, it was named for Groton, Suffolk County, England, as Dean Winthrop, one of the original founders grew up in the original Groton.

The new Groton was a tenuous frontier town for several decades, and only 21 years after it’s founding it was abandoned because of the Indian raids during King Philips war in 1775-76. It was rebuilt, fortified, and expanded following that conflict.

One hundred years later the Minutemen of 1775 gathered and mustered in on the green in front of the First Parish Church. They answered the call and were among the first to confront the British at Lexington and Concord, the battles that marked the beginning of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775—229 years ago. This church has a bell cast by Paul Revere, and is located on the racecourse, as are many other historical structures.

The 5K course passes the 1706 Parsonage, the oldest house still standing in the town, and also passes the Old burying Ground, with markers dating to 1704. It holds the remains of soldiers from the Revolution through the Civil War.

AWARDS AND RECORDS

There will be cash awards for both the 5K and the 10K again this year, including $300 for the top female and male in the 10K and $100 for winners in the 5K. There are also cash awards for the top three open runners, as well as the first female and male masters in each. The 10K will offer $100 for the first wheelchair athlete, and cash awards for the first local woman and man. They will offer a total of $1950 in cash prizes. Age group award winners—the top three in ten year divisions—will receive gift certificates.

There will be bonuses for course records in both race races. They offer $100 for breaking the course record on the 10K. Dave Dunham of Bradford, Massachusetts holds the men’s record with 30:49 in 1996. Mary-Lynn Currier of Norwich, Connecticut is the women’s standard holder with 34:51 in 1994.

Both 5K records were set last year. Barbara McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts set the 5K at 18:31, while Chris Teague of Norwood, Massachusetts powered to the men’s mark at 15:35.


BE THERE, BRING THE FAMILY

This will be a great racing experience for any runner, well trained and novice alike. This will be a great racing experience for you, and your family, whether you are beginning runners or have done a thousand races. Pledges and donations will go to benefit cancer research. Specifically they will be sent to the New England Medical Center in Boston to benefit breast health, lymphoma and gynecological malignancies. A percentage of the proceeds will go to the Summer Youth Track and Field Program in Groton-Dunstable. For information call (978) 433-6268, or e-mail grotonroadrace@yahoo.com.

 

 

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