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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > charles river summer race series -- for runners who want to have fun

Charles River Summer Race Series -- For Runners Who Want To Have Fun
For runners who want to have fun the Somerville Striders Athletic Club and American Legion Marsh Post will be hosting a Spring and Summer race series that is sponsored by Harpoon Brewery.

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 12 March, 2004

Who wants to have a really good time racing? Racing should be fun, and here is a series that proves it can be! Four wildly different racing themes make for great workouts and offer terrific food, a good place to imbibe, and a wonderfully enjoyable time.

Fun for everyone

Get ready for the second annual “Let’s Run, Have Some Fun, and be Fit” racing series, sponsored by Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. The four-race summer series in Cambridge is planned and designed for delightful fun, and there will be plenty of it. Each race will be a special pleasure and will have its own innovative, distinctly differing theme. Runners can complete them all, or just pick one; either way the enjoyment is guaranteed. There will be points for the series, with prizes at the end.

Here is the unique lineup: The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Run, the Reggae Ramble and music festival, the Jerry Garcia Memorial River Run and Musicfest, and the Brie Burger in Paradise Run and Tailgate Party. This “Tour of the Americas” takes place in May, June, July, and August—four outstanding races in 15 weeks, one in each month. The series is hosted by the Somerville Striders Athletic Club, and sponsored by Harpoon Brewery; those two facts alone are enough to insure a gratifying good time by all. All four races greatly benefit the America Legion Marsh Post veteran's club.

Great way to keep fit

All four races will be held on Thursday nights along the Charles River, the place to be in Cambridge. Each race will be a different workout, and distance will vary at the whim of the race director, usually between 4.2 and 5.2 miles. The course will include several of the famous Charles River bridges, and take in the scenery that will include kayaks, sail boats, bums, lovers, musicians, ducks, hundreds of volleyball players, and a lot of casual runners and walkers.

The course includes many unique sites, including the Cambridge Boat House, historic Harvard Stadium, and the famous John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Graduate School of Business. Whatever the distance, it will be the same for everyone, and runners can make it as competitive or as laid-back as they wish. Each race will have accurate and immediate results.

Any run along the Charles River is quintessential Cambridge. There seems to be more runners along the Charles than in any comparable area on earth. And with good reason—the Charles basin is picturesque, inviting, historic, and lightening flat and fast. Only the slight rises on approaches to the Eliot Bridge, the Lars Anderson Bridge, and the Arsenal Bridge deviate from the pancake–flat course. Those bridges, likely included in each racing loop, are the seventh, eighth and ninth of the famous Charles River crossings above the Charles River Dam and locks and the Science Park.

Good competition

This race is for everyone—every runner, every walker. All are invited to the parties, each of the four. Runners of all backgrounds and abilities—and many walkers too—will be speeding along the streets and paths of Cambridge. And many will enjoy the scrumptious post-race cookouts or picnics, with a thirst-quenching offer of Harpoon beverages in the Marsh Post, American Legion. The Marsh Post is located at 5 Greenough Boulevard on the Cambridge side of the Eliot Bridge, adjacent to the start and finish lines.


As with all really popular, well-managed events, all four races in the series will sell out. Three of the four were sell outs last year, and demand is building already for this season. With such terrific music, specialty foods, beverages, and atmosphere, there has to be a limit, and there is. There is no limit on the fun, however. Once in, the enjoyment just keeps on coming. Do register soon, either online or by mail, but don’t be left out for this series of rolling race-parties.


Cinco de Mayo -- The series kicks off with the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Run on May 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. This is scheduled to be a 5.2-mile run or a 2.6-mile walk along the Charles in Cambridge. There is a 500-person limit because of the terrific food at the post race Mexican Feast, which will include tacos, burritos, Mexican style salad and a live Mexican band. What a way to begin an outstanding group of races!

As with any first race in a series, you simply must run this one to have a shot at the lineup of points and prizes available for completing all four. As with the other three* events, high quality, distinctive and exceptionally well-designed T-shirts are available for each race, shirts that will draw attention at every other race you attend. As with all four races, there will be no race-night registration. All runners must sign up in advance, and bib numbers and instructions will be mailed. T-shirts will be picked up on race evening at the Marsh Post.

As with all four races, there will be no race-night registration. All runners must sign up in advance, and bib numbers and instructions will be mailed. T-shirts will be picked up on race evening at the Marsh Post. The awards for the 2003 series will be passed out at this event.

Reggae Ramble -- “Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright”, is the theme of race II, the Reggae Ramble and Musicfest. This will be a real beat for the feet, and starts at 7:30 p.m. on June 17. This is another that sold out in 2003 and will have a 600-runner limit. The only thing the same about this one is the Harpoon refreshments, as the atmosphere will be Caribbean, and the music will bring a smile. The food is also distinctively Caribbean, with jerk-chicken and jerk pork on the BBQ. Add Jamaican beef, chicken, and veggie patties, some rice, peas, island salad, tropical fruit drinks, and plantains, and you will think you are cruising the islands instead of the Charles. Runners will swing to the music of a live Reggae band. As with each event in the series, it is pre-registration only, and the distinctive Reggae T-shirts can be picked up before the event.

Grateful Memorial -- Jerry Garcia, the only person to have a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream named in his honor (we believe), will be honored once again at the Jerry Garcia Memorial River Run and Musicfest on July 29. This Thursday night party will include a live Grateful Dead cover band, a good one, Electric Hummus. This event will include a great post race feed including salmon, pork, and chicken. Terrific shirts will be available, for Dead Heads and all others, and the refreshments and atmosphere will be top notch.

Last year the demand was so high for this one that organizers are stretching to a 700-person limit, but there is no doubt it will close out, just like a Grateful Dead concert.

Tailgate Burgers -- The Brie Burger in Paradise Run and Tailgate Party will take place on Thursday, August 26, right after the beginning of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots preseason. The tailgate party seems appropriate—and it will be memorable. This is not just any tailgate party. This is a cookout that will be recalled years later, just like the best of the Gillette Stadium parking lot, with meat and fish and wonderful aromas. Adding to the atmosphere will be live music with the Jimmy Buffett cover band, the Coral Reefer. And the Harpoon will still be in the building.

Oh yes, there is a race as well—just to get the thirst and appetite going. This will be the fourth and last in the series, a fourth tour along the scenic, eclectic Charles River. As with the first three, there are no PR’s allowed. No PR’s because the director will not tell you the exact distance. If you want a PR, do your weekend racing. This is for fun. However, the prizes are still going to be there, and the competition will be intense for those points and prizes. Make of it what you will, just have a great time no matter the clock time.


Series winners, the top woman and first man, will be awarded a weekend getaway package at the beautiful Sheraton Hyannis in conjunction with the Sheraton Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K, and will include food and accommodations. The first 20 women and the first 20 men in series points will be awarded a variety of prizes, including fleece vests, event passes, logo sweatshirts and hats, and others. The series award, for all those running all races, will be a choice of an attractive golf shirt or sweatshirt with embroidered logo. Check the Website for points and scoring. And most importantly, every participant, whether competing in one race or all four, will be rewarded with a great time, terrific food, good brew, and a memorable experience.


No matter your pace, you should act really fast to get a spot in this series. Remember, all four of these great races are pre-registration only. The first and last races are set for 6:30 p.m., with the June and July races blasting off at 7:30. The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Run starts it all off on May 13, followed by the Reggae Ramble and Music Festival, June 17, the Jerry Garcia Memorial Race and Musicfest, July 29, and finally the Brie Burger in Paradise Race and Tailgate Party on August 26. Every race has a limit to insure high quality and a terrific experience for all participants. Don’t miss out on this classic series, an athletic and cultural experience (times four) for all those looking for a really good time.



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