The New Charles River Run—Splendid Races, Striking Places
The Charles River Basin—the most popular running location in the east—is the backdrop for the New Charles River Run on June 26; both the 7.5-Miler and the 5K are grand tours of this treasured resource.
Posted Monday, 2 May, 2005
The New Charles River Run draws from the revered traditions of the past, and organizers add the best the sport has to offer today. Place these races in an outstanding scenic region, and the result is a winning combination. There will be a new location for the start and finish this year, Artesani Park in the Brighton section of Boston. Artesani Park is a terrific spot for the race; it offers more access to the river, has additional parking, and is closer to the post race party at the American Legion Marsh Post #442. The New Charles River Run—this is the fifth year—is building a great tradition of its own.
The New Charles River Run, brought back to life by the Somerville Striders Athletic Club, and B. A. Event Promotions, is the reincarnation of an outstanding event, the original Charles River Run, a 1973 to 1995 mainstay in the New England racing scene. These races are a tribute to that tremendous 23-year tradition of excellence, run on the same shores along the scenic Charles Basin through Boston, Watertown, and Cambridge.
The new races have added terrific amenities, and many division awards not thought of in the old days, making a great thing even better. And the post-race party at the American Legion Marsh Post #442 (right along the course at the Eliot Bridge in Cambridge) is one of the best around with a complimentary barbeque.
The 7.5-miler and the 5K will zip off together at 9:00 a.m. heading westbound, or upstream. They will split at the Arsenal Street Bridge, with the 7.5-miler continuing to Watertown before crossing at the Galen Street Bridge. Both courses are very flat and extraordinarily scenic, running for the most part within close proximity of the beautiful river.
There are excellent views all along the course. It truly is the New Charles River Run, including panoramic views from the bridges. In addition to the focus on the river, the course includes the Watertown Memorial, the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind, and the Old United States Arsenal, now the Arsenal Mall (although parts of the old Arsenal are still in tact, part of what was once a mammoth complex). Many walkers will enjoy the 5K, and the scenery along the way. The finish line for both races is close to the river’s edge in Artesani Park.
The results for both races will be as fast as the courses, with Championchip computer timing at the finish line. It is a reliable state-of-the-art system. Officials from the Somerville Striders Athletic Club say these races promote “an easy, peaceful feeling”. And they do, as anyone who has run along the Charles can tell you. The sights will be incredible, and the atmosphere electric.
The pre race registration and number/chip/ T-shirt pick-up will be at Artesani Park, located on Soldiers Field Road. The post race activities and awards will also be at Artesani Park, and will include Propel Fitness Water, Turkey Hill Ice Cream, bagels, fruit, and other goodies, along with music provided by MIX 98.5 FM.
There is on-sight parking at Artesani Park, but it is limited. Allow time for a warm-up walk or jog from the many nearby alternative parking areas on Soldiers Field Road, both ends of the Eliot Bridge, or at BBN High School.
The post-race party will be located on the Cambridge side of the Eliot Bridge, at the American Legion Marsh Post #442, located right on the riverbank. American Legion Marsh Post #442 is both a sponsor and a beneficiary, as they support a registration night and also host the terrific post-race party. The party is an easy walk from the finish at Artesani Park.
Other beneficiaries of the New Charles River Run include the Brockton High School Track Team, Cambridge Baseball, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, and the Somerville Track PAC, all of them participants or volunteers in the event. This is a social and athletic experience.
Beautiful T-Shirts, a Work of Art
The T-shirts for this race are a work of art, a Charles River watercolor scene by Cambridge artist Amy D. Porter. These shirts are unique, high quality, colorful, creative, artfully designed keepers. Whether you run the 7.5-mile or the 5K, you are going to love the way you look in this shirt.
Amy D. Porter is also a marathoner. She is also an accomplished triathlete, and has won her share of races and honors in both sports. Creative, busy, and multitalented would not begin to describe Ms. Porter. She owns a Masters in Social Work, a Doctorate in Law, and has been an entrepreneur in several businesses.
Awards (In Addition to a Wonderful Experience)
This is a very rewarding pair of races, both the 5K and the 7.5-miler. There will be 14 age group divisions in each race, plus eight Clydesdale and Fillie divisions, and six wheelchair divisions for both races. There will be $1,600 in cash awards in the 7.5-miler. But the greatest rewards are the scenery, the camaraderie, the T-shirt, and that terrific post race party at the American Legion Marsh Post #442.
“Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) exists solely to deliver high quality healthcare to homeless men, women and children. Since 1985, our nurses, doctors and social workers have provided compassionate and respectful care to meet the special needs of our patients, whose lives are complicated by extreme poverty.”
“We make it easy for our patients to get services by providing medical care at over 70 clinics and shelters across Boston. We have a special team dedicated to the needs of homeless families, another team that cares for homeless people with HIV, and a group of outreach providers who work with homeless folks living under bridges and in alleys.”
“We also operate a 90-bed residential program for homeless people who are far too ill to live in shelters or on the streets, but not sick enough to need hospitalization. In 2004, we provided medical, dental and mental health services to over 8,000 patients.”
“BHCHP offers a range of opportunities for volunteers, and we are always happy to accept clothing donations and financial support. Please visit our website at www.bhchp.org for more information.”
Fitness Magnet-The Famous Charles
The nine-mile stretch of the Charles from the Boston Museum of Science to Watertown offers a wide variety of distance options using the many bridges, and the continuous 18-mile pathway along both shores. Combinations of bridges and loops, and starting points all along the river provide an endless number of options, one of the many reasons why so many runners enjoy these paths—almost traffic free. The New Charles River Run encompasses the upriver half of this scenic tour, from Eliot Bridge to Galen Street Bridge.
Here are the distances measured as a round trip loop from the Boston Museum of Science, which sits on the Charles River Dam: Longfellow Bridge, 1.7 miles; Harvard (also called Massachusetts Avenue Bridge), 3.7 miles; Boston University Bridge, 5.6 miles; River Street Bridge, 7.0; Western Avenue, 7.7; Weeks Memorial Footbridge, 8.3; Larz Anderson Bridge (leading to Harvard Square), 8.8; Eliot Bridge, 10.4; Arsenal Street Bridge, 12.8; North Beacon Street, 14.3; and Galen Street Bridge, 17.3 miles. The Charles River Dam and Basin were designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1981.
Charles River and Basin
Basin parks and river shoreline holds boat houses and yacht clubs, playgrounds, swimming pools, bathhouses, performing arts locations, picnic areas, athletic fields, parks, benches, boat launching ramps, statues, bridges, fish ladders, and monuments. There are miles and miles of running and bike paths, accessible by walkways and 12 pedestrian bridges. There are 11 rowing boat houses, and four for sailing. There is public access to rowing and sailing facilities, canoes and kayaks—and lessons. Upriver from Watertown is another four miles of river greenway and protected wetlands.
The Head of the Charles Regatta is held in October, the largest single day rowing event in the world. And now the area has the New Charles River Run. The Charles has it all.
Transportation of Every Sort
As you run along the Charles River, you can’t help but notice the intriguing variety of modes of transportation. In addition to running and walking, exercise enthusiasts are constantly blading, bicycling, skiing, and wheelchair training at every imaginable pace, and with a wide variety of attire. Also on view are autos, subways trains, freight trains, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, motor launches, sculls, and helicopters. By the way, rowing is great cross training for running. In sweeps rowers have one oar, and in sculling each rower has two oars.
A Favor for Friends and Self
Do yourself a favor, and do your friends a favor—bring them to run in the New Charles River Run. There is a distance and a pace that will please you, an atmosphere that will thrill you, and a scenic tour that will create lasting memories. There is nothing like an enjoyable run, with equally enjoyable people. This will be a well-planned and organized event, an event with tradition. It is a credit to the sport.