The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon – Exciting, Scenic Race along Lake Winnipesaukee on May 8th
The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon in New Hampshire’s spectacular Lakes Region is a must, an ideal spring race; with terrific organization, many amenities, music, lakeside views and mountain vistas the miles are really enjoyable. Run this race along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Posted Tuesday, 4 May, 2010
The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is one of the best New England spring distance races. You will love this race. It gets better and better each year, so don’t miss this exciting gem, an experience you will totally enjoy for the course, the locale, the amenities, and for just plain fun!
A beautiful lakeside course, it is surrounded by mountains. Not only is this a great place to race, but you will want to leave time to savor the tranquil beauty of this unbelievably scenic region. Plan to spend the weekend exploring the amazing beauty of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region as spring explodes in blooms and buds along the course. The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is one race that will leave you with a feeling of enjoyment and accomplishment, during and after the event. There is great support and live entertainment during and after the event.
They have a post-race party planned with live music along the lakeshore, with good food and beer that will keep you pumped and joyous long after you cross the finish line. The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is undeniably scenic and rewarding. We urge you to go to Alton Bay to experience this event.
It runs on Saturday, May 8, starting at 9:00 a.m. It begins in the town of Alton, and runs through Alton Bay and along the shore to West Alton before returning to the finish line at the Bandstand and Community Center in Alton Bay—right on the lake, the Big Lake.
You want amenities? The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon has them: Pre-race pasta dinner; colorfully unique T-shirts; bag check; chip timing; digital clocks every mile; eight water and aid stations along the course, a complimentary massage tent; terrific post race food; great raffle prizes; unique age group prizes--bottles of maple syrup; cash prizes, finish line and post race announcing by New Hampshire’s own Andy Schachat.
As the title sponsor of The Big Lake Half Marathon for the second consecutive year, Harvard Pilgrim is proud to support an event that improves the health and wellbeing of society; they really want to help people be as well as they can be. Enjoy wellness, enjoy life, and enjoy this race.
Wonderful Experience You Will Find Rewarding
There are many individual awards, including top three overall, and top three in five-year age groups, plus cash awards for the top five women and men. However, everyone wins here with beautiful technical T-shirts and distinctive custom medals to every finisher. Add the fantastic scenery of this beautiful region, the excitement, enjoyment, sense of accomplishment, party atmosphere, and the thrill of participating in a remarkably well-organized event. Race staff, volunteers, and organizers treat every participant like a champion, and a guest.
The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is entering its ninth year and has gained wide appeal. And it has grown. It is now selling out at 1,500 runners, so don’t wait until the last minute.
If you are coming as a spectator and want to enjoy the fun in a different way, check the volunteer page on the race Website—get involved. Without volunteers there would be no races.
Pre Race and Registration
There is a pre-race dinner from 5:00 to 7:00 on Friday night, May 7th, the night before the race. It is an old-fashioned community meal, a really good time with great food, and a chance to commune with friends—old and new. Held at the Alton Central School, it is sponsored by the Alton-New Durham Lions Club; it’s only $10 (proceeds to charity).
Registration/packet pickup will also be at Alton Central School, 41 School Street, Alton, NH 03809, a quarter mile from the start. You may pick up the packet—goodie bag, bib number and timing chip—Friday before the race from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., or race morning beginning at 7:00 a.m. Do not plan on race-day registration; it will likely be sold out. If picking up race morning, come early to allow for parking and getting to the start line. Carpool if possible.
The finish is 1.5 miles from the start, so bag check is provided. Shuttle bus service will bring runners and spectators back to the start from the finish area. And do not miss the post-race festivities, the “Big Lake Bash” with live music—at the bandstand immediately on the bay.
Ready on the Course
Along the course, USATF-certified, you will find enthusiastic volunteers competing to be the “best and most original in the Big Lake Battle” at each water stop. And you will be entertained along the course. You won’t believe the effort these groups put into your experience, comfort and enjoyment. They will cheer you every step and make you feel like an international star.
A Course to Remember
And what a beautiful course! The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon starts near the main fire station in Alton on Letter S Road, just off Route 140 in the center of town. It then turns west on Route 11, sloping down toward Alton Bay and the lake. Shortly after heading down to Alton Bay you will pass the famous bandstand (where the post race party will be centered) and head along the shore past the finish line at the Community Center, formerly the Alton Bay train station.
It heads northwest on Route 11, passing the entrance to Mount Major State Forest along the shore. Approaching halfway the course turns right on Route 11D (you pass the first entrance to 11D and go to the second). A left on Woodland Drive (7 miles) incorporates a pleasant loop, before returning to 11D with another left. Then 11D returns to the main road (Route 11) as you approach 11 miles. Turning left or southeast on Route 11 you head back to the finish and your great post race spread and party.
Winners and Records
Julia Huffman of Manchester New Hampshire won last year, with Nora Sullivan of Alston, Massachusetts second (1:27:05), and Maura Adams of Penacook, NH third (1:29:41). Nancy Cook of Belchertown, MA was the masters champion at 1:34:32, 10th woman). Chris Mahoney of Chelmsford, MA won the men’s race in 1:12:06 in a close battle with Scott Rowe of Dover, New Hampshire (1:12:30). Keith Schmitt, Durham, NH won the masters division in 2009 (1:24:21), 10th overall. Rowe is a three-time winner, 2005-06-07, and finished 2nd the last two years. Rowe set the course record in 2007 (1:10:57). Abi Watras of Greensboro, Vermont (1:21:23) set the women's course record in the inaugural year of 2002.
The Big Lake and the Town
Come a day early and enjoy Alton, the bay, and Winnipesaukee. There is a lot to do in and around Alton; get lots of good information in the Community Center (race finish). Take a cruise on the famous MS Mount Washington, a 1,250-passenger vessel that cruises Lake Winnipesaukee and lakeside ports; it docks at the Community Center. Or climb Mount Major, one of the smaller mountains of the area at only 1,780 feet. However, its summit provides a fantastic panoramic view of the Lake with its bays, islands, and inlets, as well as the surrounding Ossipee and Squam Mountains. It is an easy climb, even for kids, and offers spectacular views of the lake and the course.
Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest Lake in New Hampshire; one of the largest in New England. It is one of 270 lakes and ponds in the famous Lakes Region. It is 504 feet above sea level, covers 72 square miles (44,586 acres), has 182 miles of shoreline (a 65-mile run around it, Winnipesaukee Relay in September), and has 244 islands.
Alton is a wonderful community of around 5,000 full time residents, with a much larger summer population. The Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is held during a quiet and enjoyable period between seasons—beautiful in the spring. Alton has been a resort community since the mid 1800’s. The town contains many historic buildings. It is a great place to run.
A Must Experience
Come and run this race, enjoy the party, and leave with exciting memories. You will be entertained and rewarded. The natural beauty of the location is enduring. The race is well planned and organized, really special, innovative, and enjoyable. They are well prepared for you! This race is generating excitement and buzz throughout New England and beyond. Bring family, friends, and teammates.
Yes, it is a beautiful course, with terrific amenities. Every detail is covered so you can relax and enjoy the experience. The music and entertainment along the course will keep your pace pumping, and the staff and volunteers are terrific. Please check their race Website for more details on where to stay, what to do, registration, directions, divisions, charities, sponsors, and more. Mark May 8th on your calendar for an event you do not want to miss. You will enjoy being part of it. Spring is coming, lets train; sign up now! New Hampshire is for running, and the Harvard Pilgrim Big Lake Half Marathon is one awesome race.