Two Excellent Races Remain in the USATF-New England Grand Prix
The Jack Kerouac 5K in Lowell on September 30, 2012 and the Cape Cod Marathon on October 28 are the two remaining events in the 2012 USATF-NE Grand Prix. They are terrific road races and high level fun; and the Grand Prix and individual events are indeed for everyone. Seven events over seven months—New England leads the way for regional Association Championships.
Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2012
The 10th Annual Jack Kerouac 5K, running in Lowell, Massachusetts on Sunday, September 30, 2012, will be running at a new venue in Lowell and will join the USATF-New England Grand Prix for the first time. The venerable Cape Cod Marathon, a perennial favorite and 24-time New England Championship event will run in Falmouth, Massachusetts on October 28 to conclude the seven-event Grand Prix, a hugely successful series of New England Association Races.
The Jack Kerouac 5K will run at noon, starting near the Brewery Exchange Restaurant at 201 Cabot Street in downtown Lowell; it also finishes at the Brewery Exchange Restaurant, host of several past Grand Prix Events with the Brewery Exchange 5K several years ago. The course will mirror that 5K with only very slight changes as roads have been altered over the years. But the USATF-certified course is essentially the same and is very flat and fast, with fewer turns than the old Kerouac course—and a lot more room for a larger field--before, during, and after the event.
This event will be a double treat for runners in the region as the Kerouac 5K will also, for the first time, host a New England Runner Pub Series race. This exceptionally popular series, hosted of course by New England Runner Magazine, brings another dimension to the joy of running in New England—a national hotbed of running.
As the USATF-New England Grand Prix is the best Association series in the nation, so too is New England Runner Magazine simply the best regional running magazine in the USA. And their Pub Series has a strong and loyal following.
The 2012 USATF-New England Grand Prix will conclude one month later with the 35th annual New Cape Cod Marathon, a mainstay in the Grand Prix for years. The Grand Prix got underway with the Jones 10 Miler, Amherst, Massachusetts February 26 with typical cold and windy winter weather, and will conclude with an enjoyable Pub race and a marathon in one of the nation’s most favored vacation destinations.
Other 2012 Grand Prix Races Included:
Jones 10 Miler, Amherst, Massachusetts on February 26
New Bedford Half Marathon, March 18, New Bedford, Massachusetts
Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, May 19, Bedford, New Hampshire
Newton 10K, June 10, Newton, Massachusetts
Carver Cranberry Classic 5 Miler, July 28, Carver, Massachusetts
For more information, please visit www.usatfne.org.
The USATF-New England Grand Prix is having a banner year, with participation at or near record levels for all seven events. Each race serves as the New England Championship. Plans are already underway for the 2013 season, and the bidding and selection process will begin very soon after the Cape Cod Marathon with many new races looking to join the action.
New England has more running clubs per square mile and more runners per capita than any other region of the country. It is no wonder New England leads all 57 USATF Associations when it comes to championship events and an outstanding Grand Prix Series.
The USATF-New England Grand Prix is enjoying its 28th year, and it has been history making with the New Bedford Half Marathon in New Bedford, Massachusetts on March 18 and the Cape Cod Marathon in Falmouth, Massachusetts—both of these bookend events racing for the 35th time. Thirty Five Years each!
What variation in both distance and landscape: Two are urban races, New Bedford and Lowell; three are rural small town tours, including Amherst Jones 10 Miler, Bedford 12k and Carver 5 Miler; one is a pretty suburban gem (Newton 10K); and one is an iconic American tourist destination--Cape Cod. All are tremendously well organized.
The Cape Cod Marathon is the dean of the championship races. This will be the 24th time it has been named the New England Championship. The New Bedford Half Marathon is close behind, having hosted the championship as part of the Grand Prix 20 times. The Bedford Rotary 12K is an eight-time USATF-NE championship event; the Carver Five Miler was in its second year, and the Newton 10K was a first time Grand Prix event, as will be the Kerouac 5K.
Championship races are voted in by the membership online, with all current USATF-New England adult members (18 or older) getting one vote. Any USATF sanctioned race can bid to become the New England Championship.
Jack Kerouac 5K
The Jack Kerouac 5K will run September 30, 2012 at the Brewery Exchange Restaurant on Cabot Street in Lowell. This is the tenth year of the race, but the first at Brewery Exchange, the first year in the New England Pub Series, and the first year as a New England Championship Grand Prix event.
Race proceeds go to the Jack Kerouac Scholarship awarded annually to a Lowell High School graduating senior planning a major in literature or the arts. Post-race party at The Brewery Exchange includes food, refreshments, adult beverages, and giveaways, plus Music throughout the afternoon. There will be team prize money and ten-year age groups through 80+.
Jack Kerouac was and still remains a central figure in the history of Lowell, Massachusetts. Born and raised there, his work exemplifies the gentle grit and tone of Lowell. The Race--and Kerouac Festival (running October 10-14) honor his contributions to twentieth-century literature and culture by dedicating this race to his memory and to the spirit in which he lived his life.
New Bedford Half Marathon
The 35th annual New Bedford Half Marathon ran in downtown New Bedford, an historic port on Buzzards Bay and Rhode Island Sound. New Bedford shows its seafaring heritage with the course overlooking the harbor and the seafood at the post race celebration. It is a well organized, terrific event that was host to a world record by Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway (1:08:32) in 1989. Geoff Smith, British marathoner, holds the men’s course record of 1:02:05. It is a runner friendly, reasonably priced race that is very deserving of its championship status. This year over 3,000 runners participated. See www.newbedfordhalfmarathon.com
Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K
This race has outstanding organization, as does the accompanying 5K (some run both races-the starts are an hour and 45 minutes apart). The course a figure 8, and is mostly flat with a noticeable upgrade at 3 miles. It is another of the pleasant, mostly rural courses. They have held this race for 38 years. It was originally a Memorial Day event, and it still has that theme. It is easy to get to, just minutes off the Everett Turnpike and Interstate 293, but retains the rural character the region is known for. Facilities (Bedford High School and track) are top notch. Several national age group records have been set on this course (Barbara Robinson, 70-75).
Cape Cod Marathon
Long time Race Director Courtney Bird will be directing this event for the last time. Courtney has overseen this gem and its phenomenal growth and success for 32 of its 35 years and will be stepping down after this one. The "Running Weekend", October 27 and 28, includes the Novo Nordisk Marathon Half on Saturday, the full Cape Cod Marathon and Marathon Relay on Sunday, and the Chowdah Challenge--running both the Marathon Half and the marathon on Saturday and Sunday. This is an absolutely beautiful course, a counter-clockwise loop with tree-lined roads, bogs, harbor views, ocean vistas, and the sweet, historic town of Falmouth. It is hard to believe it has been 35 years. They have it down to a science, and it is one outstanding event. The accompanying Marathon Relay adds to the adventure, and the Chowdah Challenge has been quite innovative. You will be impressed with the course, the organization, and the post race party. This is a true vacation destination—but without the summer crowds. It is the ideal, most beautiful, most relaxing time to visit the Cape. This is one terrific event with solid sponsorship. Don’t miss this one—what a way to cap an outstanding series. Go to www.capecodmarathon.com.
The New England Association
The USATF-New England Association is one of the best organized and most dynamic in the country. It has been a model for others, and has been rewarded with many USATF National Championship events. All New England runners and all New England clubs should take advantage of the opportunity to belong, participate, and reap the benefits of being a part of it all. There are many hard working volunteers, officers, and chairs. Please check out the Website for an update on the leadership positions at www.usatfne.org. These folks work very diligently to make the sport enjoyable and beneficial for all New England runners.
The USATF is the governing body, and oversees records and all aspects of competition. They also certify courses and sanction races, offer insurance for member clubs, and help everyone benefit from the sport, which is so often taken for granted.
The work of the New England Association has resulted in many accolades, including individual, club and event recognition. There are many programs at all levels, from Track and Field, through road races, cross country, ultras, Junior Olympics, and the USATF-New England Mountain Running Circuit—a six-race circuit unique in the USA and highly regarded.
Executive Director Steve Vaitones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617)566-7600. The New England Association President is Steve Viegas , available at email@example.com.
Background on the Grand Prix
The New England Grand Prix was the brainchild of then President of the New England Association, Peter Stasz. Mr. Stasz saw participation in championship events declining, oddly enough, because there were too many. Each group had their own championship—women and men were separate, as were masters women and men separate from each other and the open runners. According to Peter Stasz there were championships at many different distances, including one-hour, two-hour, 50 K, 50 miles, and on many others. This was also true on a national basis.
He worked with others in the New England organization to establish a basic six or seven race series that individually would serve as championships for everyone at each given distance: 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 30K, and Marathon. “We were all headed toward metric distances in those days,” said Stasz. Of course there were also those who wanted traditional English distances too, and in the end there was a compromise.
Both Stasz and Vaitones agreed, separately, that the Grand Prix and Championship designation should always come down to the best races, even if they include odd distances at times. The five mile and 8K are basically the same distance, and the Half Marathon has taken the place of 20K, now a very rare commodity indeed.
The organization was TAC (The Athletics Congress) from 1980 through 1991 when it became USATF. Stasz initiated the Grand Prix in its present form in 1985. It has expanded and changed, but the essential ingredient was always the team (member running clubs fielding teams in each age group). In fact, there was no individual scoring in the first year, only team scoring (Stasz’s Greater Springfield Harriers won the first one). That got everyone’s attention, and the many other clubs were then off to the races, so to speak.
Individual scoring began in 1986 for the open divisions. Individual masters scoring started in 1988, with men’s seniors (50 and over) in 1989 and women’s seniors in 1991. Veteran men (60 and over) were added in 1994, with women veterans (60+) added in 1995. Since 2002 men 70 and over have been recognized separately. This year five-year age category scoring has been added for women and men 40 to 69 and for 70+.
Team scoring remains the backbone of the Grand Prix, with significant prize money offered by nearly all championship races.
Meeting the Challenge—Exceeding Your Expectations
The USATF truly is for all runners. You don’t have to have elite status or an outstanding resume. All runners can participate—many could score for various teams and think they are just middle or back of the pack. It really is for everyone who loves running. Distance runners, as with athletes in most sports, rise to the level of competition and respond to challenges. In other words, you will not get better unless you are pushed, and until you determine to push yourself with this level of competition. This is true. Not only will you improve and get great satisfaction from achieving or exceeding goals, but you will enjoy the camaraderie of the entire team, and have the satisfaction of contributing—all teams score in this Grand Prix.
Are you Ready? Join USATF and Challenge Yourself and Teammates!
Run the remaining two 2012 Grand Prix events, and prepare for 2013 as well. It is unique in the country! It is right in the middle of the hotbed of running; take advantage—take the challenge. Join USATF and get the most from your running.