The Ollie Road Race—New Flat, Fast Course. It’s The USATF-NE Five-Mile Championship
The Ollie Five Mile Road Race is earlier this year, and has a new flat and fast course. It is the New England USATF Grand Prix Championship, and has a terrific post race party.
Posted Monday, 7 August, 2006
The Ollie Road Race Five Miler will be the USATF-New England Five Mile Championship, and has a new, flat, very fast course out by South Boston’s Pleasure Bay and Fort Independence. It will run on Saturday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. Please note these significant changes: the race has been moved to the second week in September, not October; the five miler is running on Saturday this year, not Sunday; and the infamous climb on Dorchester Heights is not included in the new, very flat tour of South Boston.
But much has not changed. This race sports a top-notch venue, the Bank of Boston Pavilion, has terrific organization, and a memorable post race party sponsored by Harpoon Brewery, which is located right along the course near the new start and finish. It
The Saturday events include a two-mile walk, which steps off simultaneously with the five-miler. Everyone can participate. There will once again be series of youth races running the day after the championship event—Sunday, September 10 (that is a change from past years). The youth races will be followed by games and activities for the entire family. The Sunday youth and family events will take place at the Doc and Mary Tynan Center, 136 H Street, South Boston.
The Ollie Road Race benefits the South Boston Neighborhood House, which has served the community of South Boston for 105 years. The Ollie Road Race was founded in 1941, and they have some experience putting on races. This is one of the oldest road races in the USA. It is also one outstanding race, with proud traditions and terrific sponsor support. And now a really fast course will add to the excitement. Again, the five miler is on Saturday, September 9, starting at 10:00 a.m. from the Bank of America Pavilion. . With the changing ownership of land along the Waterfront, the Ollie does not have a designated free parking area. There are paid parking lots along the Waterfront ($9), and the Ollie will be offering free shuttle service from the South Station Red Line MBTA Stop. The Pavilion is a 5 minute walk from the Silver Line Waterfront Line. Please check the event Website (www.ollieroadrace.org) for directions.
The New Course
The Race begins and ends on Northern Avenue at the impressive Bank of America Pavilion (the start is right near the pavilion this year, not on Seaport Avenue by the courthouse). The pavilion and Harpoon Brewery are part of revitalized and dynamic South Boston, located on the waterfront just southeast 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 two-mile walk.
The course includes harbor beachfronts, waterfront piers, the historic streets of South Boston, the tour along the Black Falcon Cruise Ship Terminal, and L Street, only a few blocks from the L Street Tavern of “Good Will Hunting Fame”. Then the course turns on East Broadway, passes the Admiral Farragut statue, and tours Day Boulevard along scenic Pleasure Bay. The turn at halfway is at the historic, imposing walls of Fort Independence. New office buildings mix with traditional neighborhood structures to make up a vibrant South Boston Community, and an interesting, flat course.
It will be interesting to compare the old course records, which included the climb on Dorchester Heights, with the new Pleasure Bay tour. US National team member Amy Mortimer of West Roxbury, Massachusetts holds the women’s mark, 26:41. Mark Carroll, an Irish Olympian living in Lincoln, Rhode Island set the men’s standard at 23:55.
Last year Mark Miller of Keene, New Hampshire won the men’s contest with 24:19. Casey Moulton of Pelham, New Hampshire was second (24:28), with Nate Jenkins of Agawam, Massachusetts third (24:31).
Heidi Westerling of Narragansett, Rhode Island won the women’s race in 27:41, followed by Heather Cappello of Canton, Mass. (27:53) and Mary Proulx of Keene, New Hampshire (29:03).
Boston Marathon Champion Uta Pippig won the women’s masters title with 29:03, while Wayne Levy of Newton, Massachusetts took the men’s crown (25:45).
Special Guest Uta Pippig
Three-time Boston Marathon Champion Uta Pippig will once again be a part of the excitement this year. She will sign autographs and chat before and after the race. This will be her second year as a master. And she is very competitive. She was the outright winner in 2002, as she sped around the loop in 27:44. Pippig, one of the most popular athletes ever in the Boston Marathon, now lives in nearby Concord, Massachusetts. She 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, and has been a terrific supporter of the Ollie Road Race.
The USATF-New England Grand Prix
This will be the fifth race of seven outstanding events that make up one of the most competitive and varied Grand Prix series in the country. This year’s New England Grand Prix began with the New Bedford (Massachusetts) Half Marathon on March 19, followed by the Little Rhody 5K, Lincoln, Rhode Island, on June 4. The Whirlaway 10K in Methuen, Massachusetts took center stage on June 25, followed by the Stowe, Vermont 8-Miler on July 16. The sixth race will be the Apple Harvest Ramble Ten Miler on October 1st (first time in grand prix). The Grand Prix will conclude with the Cape Cod Marathon on October 29.
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 over 100 potential “Iron Runners” who have done all events in the “Quest for the Jacket”. Tammie Robie of the Whirlaway Racing Team leads all open women in individual points with 20, and Patrick Moulton of BAA leads the open men’s competition with 27.
Merrimack Valley Striders and the BAA share the lead in the women’s open team competition with 41 points, followed by Greater Boston with 40 in a tight race. Whirlaway Racing Team leads in the women’s masters, while MVS is tops so far in the Veterans division.
Whirlaway Racing Team leads the Men’s open team competition with 67 points, followed by BAA (61), and PR Moose Milers and Greater Lowell Road Runners (tied at 58). Whirlaway also leads the men’s masters, while PR Moose Milers leads in the Senior and Veteran Divisions (tied with Greater Springfield).
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.
The Ollie, named for one of its founders and first director, Olivia Buckminster James, is actually a series of races. Running on Sunday, September 10, 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 after the big five-mile event. All kids who participate in Sunday’s youth races will be awarded medals or ribbons, 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. Learn more about it at www.sbnh.org.
Big Time Competition, and Fun
This is a Championship event, but one open to all. Few road races can claim 65 years of tradition. Some go for the competition, some for the party, many for both. 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. And the walking event allows the entire family to play a part. It will be a championship race with all the amenities—a great time for a good cause.