New Bedford Half Marathon, March 15—Classic Race and New England Championship in this Historic Seaport City
The New Bedford Half Marathon is the second of seven races of the USATF- New England Grand Prix, and is one of the USA’s Premier Half Marathons—definitely one you should not miss. Be a part of this memorable racing tradition in its 38th year. This city embraces the race, respects all runners, and supports the sport. It is the USATF-New England Championship for the 23rd time, and so much more.
Posted Monday, 9 March, 2015
It will be the New England Half Marathon Championship for individuals and teams, the second event in the seven-race USATF-NE Grand Prix. It runs a counter-clockwise loop through this historic and famous port on Buzzards Bay. New Bedford’s seafaring heritage is fascinating at any time, and is especially highlighted on this course, running near the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park, museums, and overlooking the harbor, home to one of the most productive and historic fishing fleets in the nation.
This is an opportunity to enjoy an outstanding event on a great course that is completely closed to all traffic, and it seems the entire community is involved and in support of this exceptionally well organized happening. Yes, they know how to do a race right!
In New Bedford, Massachusetts they “Embrace the Race”. They treat all participants as guests. New Bedford is an ideal venue with scenic harbor views and a closed, single loop course that is spectator friendly. The course includes historic buildings, tremendous community support, excellent amenities, and a wonderful racing legacy--38 years on a world record course.
Several things make this venerable event really special—the way the entire city embraces the race and makes runners and spectators alike feel like welcome guests; and the terrific attention to detail by the race organizers, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of New Bedford Friendly Sons of St. Patrick who have done a great job each year in presenting this gem of New England racing. And this one will be the biggest and best ever.
Amenities and General Information
This event provides great amenities: Registration and bib/chip pickup close to the start, distinctive long sleeved tech T-shirts to the first 4,000 registrants; B-tag Chronotrack computer chip timing by Yankee Timing Company, one of the outstanding timing companies, and one of the first in the nation to adopt the B-tag technology of Chronotrack.
Yankee Timing Company will also offer an innovative instant results option they call “Step-Up Results” using the Chronotrack system: Step up to the system beyond the finish line wearing your B-tag chip (computer chip built into the bib) and view your personal results on the video screen.
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick are constantly working to make this one of the greenest races. And new this year, if you want overnight accommodations they have made arrangements with the Hampton Inn Fairhaven/New Bedford for special rates and a race day shuttle for guest participants.
There are seven fluid stations on the course, over 100 of New Bedford’s finest police officers to monitor the closed course, over 30 EMT personnel, five on-course ambulances, and a finish line medical area. They provide numerous bathrooms and porto-lets; outstanding post-race food, including the famous clam chowder and fish sandwich (seafood has always been a big part of the post-race celebration); immediate results and personal e-mail results; available showers at the nearby YMCA; cash prizes and possible bonuses; and a supportive, friendly group of volunteers and city workers.
This race was rated the top half marathon in New England by New England Runner magazine, and one of the top 25 in the nation by Runner’s World.
They are providing $10,100 in prize money--$5,200 for USATF teams and $4,900 for individuals. They also offer course record bonuses in addition. And everyone receives a memorable finishers’ medal.
It does not stop there—it is more than a race, it is an experience. The city welcomes runners and spectator guests with open arms—and open doors: Museums are all exceptional and open race day and well worth your time (check in at the visitors center); after the race downtown restaurants, sandwich shops and pubs will welcome runners, and should have discounts on special menu items—some created just for race day. Downtown retailers will also offer discounts for racers, their families, and friends. There is plenty of free parking (see Website). And it has the enthusiastic support of Mayor Jon Mitchell with dozens of city employees involved.
Important Note About Registration
Packet/chip/bib pickup will be available on Saturday, March 14, from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the New Bedford YMCA, 25 South Water Street, 02740; and again on race day morning, March 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the same location, less than a five minute walk to the start and finish (post race showers at the YMCA too). Note again, there is NO race day registration.
You can save $10 if you sign up before January 31; the fee will increase from $60 to $70 on February 1, 2015. Please register now. The first 4,000 to sign up will receive a custom long sleeve technical shirt.
Please visit the comprehensive race Website for all information, including registration, directions, course map, accommodations, prize structure, teams and clubs, spectator information, B-tag technology, post race meal, results, race videos, and general information about the region: New Bedford Half Marathon . And do plan some time while you are there to take in some of what this unique and historic city-by-the-sea offers.
The New Bedford Half Marathon is a well organized and well attended event (nearly 5,000 participants signed up in 2014). And it is an exceptionally well managed event, which makes it an ideal championship race for the Grand Prix.
USATF-New England Grand Prix
This will be the 31st year of this classic championship series, and it offers some great racing for USATF members, although all runners are welcome in each event. It begins on February 22, 2015 with the Five College Realty 10 Miler in Amherst, MA; it continues with the New Bedford Half on March 15. And new this year to the Grand Prix, although it is the 27th annual, the Marathon Championship will be run in the spring for the first time with the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon, running May 24th in Burlington: Vermont City Marathon .
The Hollis Fast 5K returns to the Grand Prix in 2015 after a one year hiatus, running June 11 in Hollis, New Hampshire: Hollis Fast 5K . Two events are also new to the USATF New England Grand Prix, although they are well established races—the Bobby Doyle Five Miler runs in Narragansett, Rhode Island on August 9, and the Seasons 20K takes center stage in Acton, Massachusetts on September 6, 2015. The series closes with the 9th annual Lone Gull 10K on September 20 in the north shore seaport town of Gloucester, MA.
There will be officials from the USATF attending and available to sign up runners so they are eligible for participation and scoring in the Championship and Grand Prix. Everyone should join the USATF, especially if running races regularly, individual or as a team member. The USATF-NE Grand Prix is now in its 31st year, one of the most highly rated such series in the nation.
Participants in the Grand Prix will experience quality events and excellent organization at each race with variation in distance and landscape. All events are tremendously well organized, and each has a lot of tradition. Please visit USATF-New England .
Counter-Clockwise, Great Course and Spectator Friendly
This is a race through maritime history in a vibrant Southeast Coast community with much to offer. Yes, the City of New Bedford welcomes runners. Headed by Mayor Jon Mitchell, the entire community gets behind the event and brings you terrific organization, including outstanding course monitoring and closure- a venerable race.
This is a fast, USATF-certified counter-clockwise loop that begins on Purchase Street, the center of this vibrant city. The start and finish are close to each other overlooking the beautiful natural harbor. This will be a closed, traffic free course, with the entire city, including police, fire, and public works departments, in support.
The start is near City Hall and the New Bedford Art Museum. It heads north on Purchase Street before turning northwest on Nauset Street, then west along Hathaway Road before turning south for a pleasant flat to slightly down stretch on Rockdale Avenue. Spectators can easily make their way from the start to the five mile mark at Rockdale and Elm. Runners then pass Button Wood Park on their right heading south.
The course transitions from mostly residential to harbor views when reaching Cove Road with a turn to the east. This is followed by a scenic loop along the peninsula to Fort Rodman/Fort Taber via West Rodney French Boulevard (historic Butler Flats Light Station and Clark’s Point Light are in view), then East Rodney French Boulevard (great views of the Outer Harbor on both boulevards).
The course then heads north on County Street, with an upgrade just beyond 12 miles with historic buildings and lots of spectators; then a few turns take runners back to Purchase Street for the home stretch heading south for that triumphant finish.
How fast, you say? Although there are two gradual hills, and there is often a stiff breeze off Buzzards Bay, this is one fast course. The winners in 2014 were New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith of Providence who ran 1:11:09 for her third win here; and Ruben Sanca of Lowell, MA, running 1:05:52.
This race was host to a world record by Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway (1:08:32) in 1989. She is one of two women ever to break 1:10 here; Kim Smith ran 1:09:50 for victory in 2011, her second in a row (1:10:53 in 2010). Geoff Smith, famous British marathoner, holds the men’s course record of 1:01:58 (1985), his second consecutive win at New Bedford. Laurie Binder holds the women’s masters record of 1:17:10 set in 1988. Pierre Levise hold the men’s masters record of 1:04:56. There is a $2,000 bonus for any winning runner to break the open records.
"One of the best races I've ever been a part of. Great town! Outstanding event!"
Other notable winners at New Bedford include Janis Klecker (2), Dave Dunham, Lynn Jennings, Dean Kimball, Lisa Senatore, John Gregorek, Peg Donovan, Cathy O’Brien (2), Bobby Doyle, Jane Welzel, Larry Olsen, Patti Catalano, and many more.
The City of New Bedford—Interesting and Historic
New Bedford is a city for walkers and runners. There are walking tours of the National Historic Park, a 34-acre, 13 square block preserve dedicated to New Bedford’s maritime history. The city is inextricably tied to the sea, and the race reflects that. The beautiful natural harbor opens on Buzzards Bay. The park borders the working waterfront, and the visitor center is well worth seeing at 33 William Street. Before oil was discovered in Western Pennsylvania, the country was dependent on whale oil for lighting, candles, and lubrication, and it was a huge business which sent ships all over the world from New Bedford.
When you come, take time to see and appreciate New Bedford. There are numerous historic homes, and many galleries and restaurants, with ethnic foods and flavors that reflect the amazing history and diversity of the city.
Don’t Miss It—This is One of the Best
This is one whale of a race, a counter-clockwise loop through maritime history. The New Bedford Half Marathon is enormously successful because they give runners what they want. It is the USATF-NE Championship and part of the New England Grand Prix for the 23rd time.
Presented on March 15th this year by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, it is simply a superior racing experience. It is a race with great traditions, indeed one of the best half marathons in the USA. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and everyone in the host city welcome runners with quality from start to finish. Believe me, they care and respect all participants. Join in and enjoy this classic!
See www.newbedfordhalfmarathon.com, and for additional information you can e-mail DanMcCarthy@newbedfordhalfmarathon.com, or call 508-993-1774 or 617-566-7600.