The Ollie Road Race—A 65th Anniversary Classic, and the USATF-NE Five-Mile Championship
The Ollie Road Race is once again the New England USATF Grand Prix Championship, and Uta Pippig, darling of the Boston Marathon, will race for the first time as a master.
Posted Tuesday, 27 September, 2005
Are you ready for some racing, and a good post race party? The Ollie Road Race Five Miler will be the USATF-New England Five Mile Championship, the sixth of seven outstanding events that make up one of the most competitive and varied Grand Prix series in the country. It will run on Sunday, October 2 at 9:00 a.m. Running in South Boston, near the center of America’s running hotbed, this race sports a top-notch venue, a thoroughly interesting and varied loop course, and an excellent post-race party.
The Ollie Road Race was founded in 1941, and is one of the oldest road races in the USA. It is also one outstanding race, with proud traditions and terrific sponsor support. It includes a three-mile walk, which steps off simultaneously with the five-miler, and a series of kids’ races running the day before the championship event. The Ollie Road Race benefits the South Boston Neighborhood House, which has served the community of South Boston for 104 years.
Uta Pippig, Master Racer
Three-time Boston Marathon Champion Uta Pippig will be a part of the excitement for the fourth consecutive year. This will be her first race as a master, and she says she is ready to go. She was the outright winner in 2002, as she sped around the loop in 27:44. She ran it as a workout the last two years, but says she is in better shape now than in 2002. Pippig, now living in nearby Concord, Massachusetts, won the BAA Boston Marathon for three years in a row. She held the Boston course record (2:21:45) from 1994 until broken by Margaret Okayo in 2002 (2:20:43). Uta Pippig is wonderfully personable, loves running and runners, and will sign autographs before and after the Ollie Road Race.
The Race begins and ends at the impressive Bank of America Pavilion, part of revitalized and dynamic South Boston. It is located on the waterfront just south of the World Trade Center complex and the Seaport Hotel. Boston Harbor and the Boston skyline make a terrific backdrop for both courses, the five-mile run and three-mile walk. The loops include harbor beachfronts, waterfront piers, the historic streets of South Boston and Dorchester Heights, from which George Washington and company forced the British to evacuate Boston. New office buildings mix with traditional neighborhood structures to make up a vibrant South Boston Community, and an interesting course. There is plenty of free parking at the McCourt Company near the pavilion.
Both course records were broken last year, the first for the Ollie Road Race as the USATF-NE Championship. US National team member Amy Mortimer of West Roxbury, Massachusetts sped to 26:41.95, breaking the old mark by 46 seconds. Mark Carroll of Lincoln, Rhode Island zipped to a new mark of 24:34, an improvement of 38 seconds.
Post Race Party and Awards
The post-race party will once again be held in the pavilion, hosted by Harpoon Brewery, with plenty of food, music, and prizes in an awesome setting. Awards will include $6,000 in cash. Age group and team competition will add to the incentives and excitement, and there are also weight divisions. At this race ordinary runners and beginners can compete in the same event, on the same course, at the same time as the world’s best.
Dedication from 1941
James Paul Foley was the first winner of this race in 1941. Mr. Foley passed away recently after a long illness. The race committee will present a special dedication to his family in a brief ceremony.
The USATF-New England Grand Prix
The USATF-NE Championship races draw some of the best runners in New England and from around the country. Competition will be top notch for this classic. The race is open to all, from elite runners to beginners. It is not necessary to be a member of the USATF to participate, but there are significant advantages to USATF membership. Contact the New England office of USATF at www.usatf-ne.org, or call (617) 566-7600. Or visit the national Website at www.usatf.org.
Hundreds will take part in the individual and team competition that is the USATF-NE Grand Prix. After five events there are 110 potential “Iron Runners” who have done all five and will strive to make the final two events in the “Quest for the Jacket”. Kara Hass of the Greater Lowell Road Runners leads all women in individual points with 35, and Nate Jenkins, also of Greater Lowell, leads the men’s competition with 37.
In the women’s team race, the Merrimack Valley Striders lead the Whirlaway Racing Team by 54 to 48 in the open division. In the masters the two are reversed, with Whirlaway taking a 45 – 42 lead. The Central Mass Striders lead the women’s seniors with 24 points.
The Central Mass Striders also lead the men’s open team competition by one point, 86 to 85 over Greater Lowell. Whirlaway heads Greater Lowell by 79 to 69 in the masters’ group; CMS leads the senior competition, while the Moose Milers and Marathoners are tops in the veterans’ division.
Ollie is the penultimate event in a seven-race series that began with the New Bedford (Massachusetts) Half Marathon on March 20. The Bedford Rotary (New Hampshire) 12K ran May 21, followed by the Little Rhody 5K, Lincoln, Rhode Island, on June 5. The Whirlaway 10K in Methuen, Massachusetts took center stage on June 26, followed by the Stowe, Vermont 8-Miler on July 17. The Grand Prix will conclude with the Cape Cod Marathon on October 30.
The Ollie, named for one of its founders and first director, Olivia Buckminster James, is actually a series of races. Running on Saturday, October 1, the youth races will include a 1.2-mile event for kids 10 to 14, a half mile race for ages 8 and 9, and also a separate half mile for ages 6 and 7, and a 100 meter dash for those 5 and under.
The Ollie Road Race was one of the first to offer racing specifically for children as far back as the 1940’s. Although it is a now world-class event, it’s one that still caters to kids. This is a two-day celebration of the sport. The Children’s races will run the day before the big five-mile event. All kids who participate in Saturday’s youth races will be awarded medals, a T-shirt, and their book. South Boston Neighborhood House, as part of their very successful literacy campaign, gives every finisher a book when they complete their event. This symbolizes the importance of reading and family education.
It will be a family fun day and carnival atmosphere for the kids when they run their races, beginning and ending at the Doc and Mary Tynan Senior Center in South Boston. It will be a block party, complete with clowns, games, and face painting. There will be a cookout, and a terrific neighborhood celebration.
About Neighborhood House
The South Boston Neighborhood House serves many needs, and truly is a “neighborhood house”. Founded in 1901, it was one of the earliest settlement houses from the settlement house movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And it has been one of the longest lasting and most effective in the region. The South Boston Neighborhood House serves over 4,000 individuals, and has a budget of over $2 million. It is an agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for all families. They have begun a new collaborative substance abuse prevention program, and an after-school program in the Old Colony Housing Development.
They serve families in all South Boston neighborhoods, of all income levels. The mission: To support family and neighborhood life in South Boston. A sampling of the programs: “Early Books Family Reading Program”; Child Care, pre school and school age; summer day camps; Adolescent Services; Center for Elders; Community Organizing; and Volunteer Services. Learn more about it at www.sbnh.org.
Be There for the Competition and the Tradition, or Just Go for the Fun
This is a Championship event, but one open to all. Few road races can claim 65 years of tradition. The Ollie Road Race is both a quintessential neighborhood race and a true classic road race with world-class competition, and venues to match. It has become a fixture (since 1941) in the unique neighborhoods of South Boston. It runs in support of the venerable South Boston Neighborhood House, and the walking event allows the entire family to play a part. It will be a championship race with all the amenities. All will have a terrifically good time in a race for a good cause.