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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the bedford rotary memorial 12k/5k road races: championship racing and tradition at its best

The Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K/5K Road Races: Championship Racing and Tradition at Its Best
This race is for everyone. Big time competition, excellent facilities, terrific organization, a championship atmosphere, and small town charm; the Bedford, New Hampshire Rotary Memorial Road Races 12K and 5K are for you.

The Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K/5K Road Races: Championship Racing and Tradition at Its Best
Michelle Boisvert

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By Michelle Boisvert
Posted Monday, 10 May, 2010

The 36th Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Race 12K will be the USATF Championship of New England, a New England Grand Prix event, and the place to be in the Northeast on May 22, 2010. The accompanying 5K will make for a terrific family day. Between these two outstanding and complimentary events there will be a race for everyone, from the slowest beginner to elite regional stars.

The Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K/5K Road Races continue the tradition as two extraordinary races from start to finish. Being the 2010 USATF-New England 12K Grand Prix Championship race, there’s guaranteed to be some tough competition on the rural Bedford roads. And with a new course that starts and ends at the Bedford High School, finishing with a victory lap around the track, all racers will experience the excitement of an Olympic-style event.

Memorial Day weekend gets an early start in Bedford, N.H. These back-to-back races offer something for the entire family. And since the 12K starts at 9:00 a.m. and the 5K heads off at 10:45 a.m., there’s even a chance to get in a little extra mileage or run with the family by covering both races—at a discounted rate! These family and beginner-friendly races give everyone a chance to get out there and start the summer off right. And what a beautiful time of year it is in southern New Hampshire. Less than an hour from Boston, and just southeast of Manchester, the location is convenient too.

You can register online from the Race Website and save a stamp and a trip to the post office, or you can print out a mail-in application. Please check the details on the Website. Registration is open until May 15th, but act now for reduced rates.

The Secret Behind Success
What started in the elementary school as a parent/teacher 3-mile fun run 37 years ago has evolved into a mainstay in New England’s competitive running circuit. The Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, which was added around 1990, has been named a USATF-New England Grand Prix race seven times since 1999. Now hundreds of teams from many of the top New England running clubs will flock to the historic Manchester suburb of Bedford for the third of eight races in the USATF-NE Grand Prix series, and the only one in New Hampshire.
The other races in the 2010 USATF-New England Championships and Grand Prix:

• Feb. 28 - Jones Group 10 Miler, Amherst, MA
• March 21- New Bedford Half Marathon, New Bedford, MA
• May 22 – Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, Bedford, NH
• June 6 - Rhody 5K, Lincoln RI (Men’s Championship)
• July 18 – Stowe Eight Miler, Stowe, VT
• Aug. 14 - Bridge of Flowers 10K, Shelburne Falls, MA
• Oct. 3 –Providence Ronald McDonald House 5K, Providence, RI (Women’s)
• Oct. 17 - Bay State Marathon, Lowell MA

And they come to Bedford with good reason. “The 12K is an intermediate distance and it comes at the right time—a month after the Boston Marathon—and we operate a good race,” said Bill Gere, long time Race Director. “The 12K is also good for marathon runners to work on their speed.” You’ll know what he means the second the starting gun goes off at the new course, which starts at the new Bedford High School.

The downhill start on a wide stretch of road allows racers to properly seed themselves for a smooth start and fast overall time. Top three winning teams in the 12K will go home with prizes as well as bragging rights over other New England running clubs and points toward their Grand Prix standings for the year.

Stellar Course Through Historic Bedford
Two fast and scenic courses through Bedford’s country roads also contribute to the popularity of these races. As race tradition has it, a bagpipe player and a Marine Color Guard will signal that it’s almost “go time” for 12K racers. Runners start straight ahead on County Road for about 1K before turning right onto Gault Road. You’ll follow Gault Road and turn right onto Patten Road for some views of the Manchester Country Club golf course before a sharp right brings you back onto County Road. A short detour through a quiet neighborhood of Wright Acres Road will keep you on your toes before heading back onto County Road again.

Once you turn left onto Liberty Hill Road, you’ll experience the most elevation the course has to offer with some gently rolling hills, running over paved country roads. Just when another uphill is in sight, turn right onto Gage Road for a short distance. One of the last right turns brings you onto Nashua Road, which is lined with rolling fields, farm houses, barns and old rock walls nestled along side the road. A few large colonial and modern houses dot the landscape and break up the pastoral setting—a welcome mix of traditional and contemporary.

Nashua Road is also home to local inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway, among other inventions. Keep your eyes to the sky for Kamen’s personal helicopter, which he’s known to fly around town. A final left turn brings you back to the high school for that victory lap around the track.

The flat 5K course is a lollipop route that—just like the 12K—starts and ends at the Bedford High School. After the short downhill on County Road, runners hit the first kilometer on Gault Road before making a left turn for a short run down Mayflower Road, where they hit the 2K mark. A left turn takes runners and walkers onto Meetinghouse Road for just a few minutes before heading down Edinburgh Drive to chock up another kilometer. A left turn onto Liberty Hill Road and then a right onto County Road and you’re in the home stretch—with just over 1K to the finish. Kick into full speed when you catch sight of the school again and prepare to run around that oval amidst cheering crowds.

Reap the Rewards
Winners in both the 12K and 5K races are definitely rewarded—with cash and commemorative trophies. There are 11 age groups for both races as well as Clydesdale and Filly categories. Top three overall winners for both races will receive cash prizes. First and second place in masters, veterans and seniors categories will receive cash prizes and trophies.

Teams for the 12K are restricted to USATF-New England members, but 5K teams can be any group that gets together—serious or fun runners, family or friends or even a corporate team. The 5K team competition truly gives every runner the change to participate; 5K team categories are age- and gender-graded for an even field.

The Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Races T-shirts are known for their colorful, patriotic designs. This year, race organizers are going a step further and giving technical wicking T-shirts to the first 500 registered runners, which is yet another reason to register early. Shirts can also be purchased for $10 if you don’t make that cut-off.

A Feast Worth the Effort
When you ask a group of runners what their favorite part of the race was, you’ll get a different answer from each one. One runner may say the finish, another runner may mention the scenery, and yet another runner might talk of the competition that pushed him through the tougher miles. Ask me, and I generally tell you about the food at the finish line. And I’m not even sure where to start when talking about the grub at the end of the Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Races!
Oh, sure, you have the post-race staples that everyone looks forward to: yogurt, bagels and bananas. But you can use those as an appetizer to the main course. Manchester restaurant T-Bones brings lasagna to the table and nearby Clam King offers its famous chicken fingers and French fries. Pushing yourself in either the 12K or the 5K is worth the effort once you get to refill on these awesome treats back in the high school cafeteria. I’m a strong believer that food is fuel, and this post-race refueling will top off your tank for whatever the rest of the day brings.

Aged to Perfection
The 36th Annual Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K/5K Road Races are two well-crafted races that combine new and old in a most unique way. Runners of all ages and abilities will run—seasoned racers, young bucks looking to test themselves against some of the best of the region, and newbies ready to tackle a distance just beyond 10K. They will wind through country roads in historic Bedford, N.H. It signals the unofficial start of summer; it signals that race season in New England is moving to high gear, and it’s proof that some things really do get better with age.

Most of all, however, these races are really enjoyable. There is a feeling of comfort with these carefully planned, well-organized events, and the courses will make for pleasant running—every mile, every moment. Enjoy these races! Well done, Bedford Rotary! Well done indeed.



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