Cohasset Road Race by the Sea – Run 31 years of history on a beautiful seaside course
Treat yourself to what New Englanders have been celebrating for 31 years. Just south of Boston the beautiful Cohasset Road Race by the Sea continues year after year to deliver outstanding race experiences.
Posted Saturday, 27 January, 2007
On April 1st, 2007 the Cohasset Rotary will host the 31st annual Road Race by the Sea. Runners from New England and all over will gather as they have been gathering since 1977 on the town common to kick off their spring with this great seaside course.
Natural Beauty in a classic ocean setting
From the start on the town common to the Atlantic crashing on the shoals to the boats bobbing at anchor in the town harbor you will be treated to a postcard perfect course. Ask anyone who has run this race – and over the years that number would be in the tens of thousands – and they will, to a person describe the way the beauty of the seaside course spoke to them and inspired them throughout the race.
There is something about seaside courses that pulls runners. There is a repeating theme of inspiration that verges on the primal. There is some sort of natural energy that manifests in an almost physical joy as you compete. Somehow the mere presence of the ocean lifts the spirit and salves the pain. This is a basic human thing and if you strip away everything else the natural beauty of Cohasset stands out as more than enough to draw the runners back each year.
History and tradition
The Cohasset Road Race by the Sea has a pedigree and history in New England race annals that makes it worth considering. For many of you 1977 probably seems as distant as the fall of Rome. For others you’ll remember a strange breed of human that began running by the thousands in the 70’s and laid the ground work for everything we take for granted today.
New England was a hotbed of the young sport and 10k’s like Cohasset sprang into being. Come run the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea and you will get to share in – be part of – the history of running.
Put yourself in that place at that time. Picture those strange beings in their Tiger shoes and hot pink short-shorts talking about whether anyone would ever challenge Bill Rodgers at Boston or the nascent New York (first year through 5 boroughs). Or maybe how a new shoe company from Oregon was coming out with some interesting stuff made with waffle irons. Long hair – big moustaches – Grateful Dead rock & roll– but they were at the forefront. They were discovering or rediscovering the simple and natural act of running.
The Cohasset Road Race by the Sea started with these crazy explorers and has evolved with the sport. It should be obvious that in order to survive and grow an event over three decades means that the event resonates with its audience. And for 31 years the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea has delivered a product that satisfies its clientele.
New this year – The Last Pick comes to Cohasset
The boys from Boston are always present at Cohasset and this year there is a special twist. The town Library is hosting a program called "One Book One Cohasset" where the entire town is encouraged to read Dave McGillivray’s The Last Pick. This will culminate with the running of the Road Race by the Sea. The program capitalizes on Dave’s positive ‘can-do’ attitude, the power of reading and the healthful impact of running.
I asked Dave about the race this year and he was, as always, giving in his response.
I ran the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea about 20 years ago and then most recently about 8 years ago. It’s a very scenic 10K course and the Cohasset Rotary Club does a great job with organization and execution of the race. It’s a wonderful way to start the spring season. This year I’ll be returning to run the race and am especially excited because the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea will mark the culmination of the community’s One Book, One Cohasset program in which the entire town is encouraged to read one book. For 2007, I am proud to say they are reading my book, The Last Pick, which was co-authored by Cohasset's own, Linda Fechter. My hope is to run and chat with the people who have read the book and as is usually the case, I find that I am the one inspired by the folks I meet along the way.
- Dave McGillivray
Service before self!
Inherent in the resonance of Cohasset Road Race by the Sea is the local Rotary club’s focus on service. A vibrant Rotary organization has consistently kept the focus of the event – the business of the event – on giving back. This creates an excellent holistic balance within the race. It is a balance between the beauty of the place, the history of the happening and the service to others contained in the Rotary’s charter.
The event fits perfectly with the Rotary’s charter to band people together in service to the greater good. In many charity based events the charity overwhelms the event itself. At Cohasset they have found the right balance and end up with success on all levels. The history speaks for itself.
The basics – Where – When and What!
The Cohasset Road Race by the Sea kicks off from the Cohasset town common on April 1st 2007 at 1:00. The Fun Walk starts on Sandy Beach at 10:00 AM.
The race draws a wide mix of runners evenly distributed between once-a-year folks, mid-packers and competitive runners. Many local pros and elites come down from the Boston clubs to participate. The race is a mainstay for local runners looking for a spring marathon tune up.
The event includes the traditional 10k that made it famous and drew 977(!) participants last year – truly outstanding for a 10k. There is also a 4 mile walk. Up-to-date particulars may be found at the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea web site.
The 10k course, known for its seaside scenic views runs counter clockwise up the rocky coast and through the village, starting and ending on the beautiful town green.
Town ‘greens’ or ‘commons’ are a feature of New England towns. Commons as a tradition were brought from England by the original settlers. A central patch of grazing land was set aside for common use in the village. These original settlements were agrarian in nature and the town common was the communal center of the settlement. Our towns retained these commons down through the years. Today the commons provide a wonderful green space for the population. Cohasset Common is a green reminder of its colonial past.
The course leads away from the common on North Main to South Main, and turns east on Elm toward the beach for the clockwise seaside loop. Elm takes the runners to Cohasset Harbor, with a left on Atlantic Avenue, passing Minots Light and Bassings Beach--out to Quarry Point. Views of the ocean, Scituate Neck, the lighthouse, and Strawberry Point frame the open Atlantic. From Quarry Point the bridge will take runners along Little Harbor on the left with Sandy Beach and Pleasant Beach and the Ocean on the right.
Next is Jerusalem Road with the “Black Rocks” visible off shore, with distant views of Nantasket and the skyline of Boston beyond. Forest Avenue takes runners past Wheelright Park and along Forest, an attractive, tree-lined running road. Then there is a little bit of a hill that gears you up towards the finish line. The final turn on North Main takes participants back to the village center and the common for a fast finish at the Cohasset Town Hall.
The results of last year yielded an astonishing 977 finishers in the 10k. The field was led by local pros. In fact a team of training partners won men and women overall. Andrew Noble from Weymouth, Ma. won overall with a 5:17 pace. (For all you lads with me in the 40-49 age class this should strike terror in your heart because Andrew is our age!) The first female was Candy Angle who trains with Andrew and finished first female with a 6:13 pace. Learn all about these amazing local athletes, Candy and Andrew at CAAN Sports.
"Quonahasset" or "long rocky place"
Cohasset, so named by the original Native American residents boasts a seafaring history and a rugged coast. English settlers established the farming and fishing village here in 1670. The place is beautiful but was also treacherous for early sailors. Many a ship was wrecked on the rocky shoals in the waters off the coast.
One of the most prominent features of Cohasset is Minots light house
The rocks and ledges along the Cohasset shore had long been recognized as treacherous and a hazard to navigation. In the 30 years preceding construction of a light, more than 50 ships and 40 lives had been lost to the sea in the area of Minot's Ledge. In the latter 1840's, as the result of the many disastrous shipwrecks off Cohasset's shores, the U.S. Government's Lighthouse Establishment determined to build a lighthouse on the offshore ledges to warn mariners away from the danger presented by the rocks and small islands of the "Cohasset Rocks".
- Cohasset historical society
One of the most famous wrecks was the wreck of the St. John, and Irish famine ship, blown on to the rocks in 1849. The aftermath of the disaster was documented by Henry David Thoreau, our Concordian friend of ‘Walden Pond” fame, in his “Cape Cod” journal.
The original Minots light house was a structure on steel posts that was washed into the sea by a storm, taking its two keepers with it. That ill fated structure was replaced with the current 114ft tall interlocking granite block structure. During fierce storms the waves break over the top of the structure. This is one of the featured scenes presented to runners on the course.
Character of a village
Cohasset retains the charm of a colonial village. The charm and history of the place lends itself in a big way to the success of the Road Race by the Sea.
Cohasset's central village lies around a spacious common with a small pond, and includes specialty shops, the colonial First Parish Meeting House and St. Stephen's Church with its 56 bell carillon that has offered Sunday concerts since 1824. The town has active Community and Arts Centers, three historical museums and the renowned South Shore Music Circus, as well as the Swim Club, two beaches and the recreational facilities of Whitney Woods Reservation and the Wompatuck State Park
- Cohasset town web site
Cohasset is still a relatively small community of around 8,000 souls. With the Ocean to its east it is bounded by Hingham on the west, Hull on the north and Scituate on the south. Did you know “The Witches of Eastwick” was filmed in Cohasset? It’s a beautiful place for a visit and a race.
Rotary International – Service in the community – leads the way
What is the Rotary? The Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. You will find these do-gooders in most communities and they are part of the volunteer fabric that makes towns work. There are many events put on by Rotary and the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea is just one of the good works that they make possible. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.
The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, was formed on February 23rd1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.
Rotary's popularity spread throughout the United States in the decade that followed; clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents, and the organization adopted the name Rotary International a year later.
There’s probably a Rotary Club in your town full of like minded individuals that would love to see you join up! If you’re not up to that, just make your way to Cohasset in April and support the cause by participating in the Road Race by the Sea!
Come to Cohasset – Join the fun!
Any way you slice it you’ll find the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea a worthy endeavor as you get up on April Fool’s Day. Join the thousands of satisfied and inspired runners that have kissed the ocean on this beautiful course over the years. Be part of something fun. Be part of something significant. Be part of something worthwhile. Run the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea on April 1st 2007.