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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the make-a-wish big lake half marathon: ten years and counting

The Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon: Ten Years and Counting
A race needs a few key characteristics to be considered “royalty” in New England’s busy spring racing calendar. At just 10 years of age, Make-A-Wish Big Lake has achieved these qualities, and more. Its killer course keeps runners coming back year after year. Not too much flat road and not too many hills; the 13.1-mile course has the perfect blend to keep you on your toes and feeling good.

  
The Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon: Ten Years and Counting

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By Michelle Boisvert
Posted Thursday, 7 April, 2011

A race needs a few key characteristics to be considered “royalty” in New England’s busy spring racing calendar. At just 10 years of age, Make-A-Wish Big Lake has achieved these qualities, and more. Its killer course keeps runners coming back year after year. Not too much flat road and not too many hills; the 13.1-mile course has the perfect blend to keep you on your toes and feeling good.

Another thing that makes Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon such a popular event is that it’s fun for the whole family. Spectators can also join the excitement at the Big Lake Inspiration station. Create an inspirational sign for a runner, grab a cowbell and a foam finger and head out on the course to make some noise. The Kids Zone gives kids something active to do while the adults are pounding the pavement. The zone will be filled with arts and crafts as well as a few TVs connected to Nintendo Wiis so kids can play video games during the race.

The Big Lake and the Course
The race starts at Letter S Road in Alton, NH—a short quarter-mile warm-up run from packet pick-up at Alton Central School. The first mile begins with a slight incline, which is just enough to get your heart rate up and keep you honest (i.e., not bolt out of the gate). The course flattens out and even introduces some nice downhill as you continue on Route 11, letting you slip into a comfortable race pace and enjoy the views of the White Mountains and the Ossipee mountain range.

The course takes a turn—both off the main road and from the flat terrain—just before the 7-mile mark when you hang a right onto Woodlands Road and later onto Route 11D. Wind through neighborhoods and past beautiful waterfront homes as you climb and descend the most challenging miles of the course. One final left turn takes you back onto Route 11, around mile 11, for a fast and flat two miles to the finish.

It’s not just the ups and downs of the pavement that make this event a sellout each year. It’s the distractions along the way that move Big Lake along the road to race greatness. Race director Keith Jordan and his team at EndorFUN Sports know how to put a smile on your face when you may not feel like smiling—live music. This year’s Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon is chock full of bands along the way pumping out everything from rock to jazz to bluegrass. Some bands that will entertain you along the way include Paul Warnick, Jimmy Lehoux, Simplicity, October Sons, Four On The Floor, Melodies and Memories, The Glympse, Backtalk, and more to come.

Aid stations will be packed with volunteers and cheerleaders handing out goodies like water, Gatorade, fruit, cookies, candy and gels to keep your engine topped off. Prepare yourself for some of the liveliest water stops of any race. This year, all water stops will compete in the Big Lake Battle, which awards cash and prizes to the most creative stations. And digital clocks at every mile will help keep you on pace from start to finish. Run a smart race (and don’t party too much at the water stops) and this course is ideal for your next half marathon PR.

The Big Lake Bash: It’s Gonna Be Sweet
This half marathon takes the cake. And this year, you can too, along with Jordan's Ice Cream. It’s Big Lake’s 10th birthday and you’re invited. You had a blast running the race, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Once you cross that finish line and grab your finisher’s medal, the party continues in the bay. Nosh on some complimentary treats from Little Caesars' Pizza, Hannaford Supermarket, and Stonyfield Farm yogurt, as well as clam chowder from Seawatch International. And what birthday party wouldn’t be complete without cake? Grab a slice and help organizers ring in another decade of Big Lake running.

Whether you placed in your age group or not, stick around for the awards ceremony. Keep your bib handy for a special raffle—you might win an awesome prize! Then wash down that cake at the Big Lake Biergarten, located at Shibley’s On the Pier, where you can imbibe in some adult carbs from Harpoon Brewery and listen to even more live music.

Need More Cowbell? You Got It!
All registered runners for Big Lake Half Marathon will receive a beautiful tech tee sporting the multi-colored Big Lake logo and lots of freebies in their race bags. Registration is open now: https://www.lin-mark.com/RaceDetails.aspx?guid=74cc3b3a-1ade-4871-830a-2a81222afed4. The registration fee is $55 until April 15th; prices go up to $60 after the 15th. Race day entry (if available) will be $65, but don’t count on that since the race sells out each year. Race-day parking is available at the Alton Central School as well as the finish line. There will also be more buses available to shuttle people back to the school after the post-race fun is over.

The EndorFUN team and Race Director Keith Jordan will also host a pie-eating contest for kids before the awards ceremony. And the furry and loveable Bonk the Moose will be handing out Big Lake Bucks, which can be exchanged at the Big Lake General Store for some treats. “We want this to be fun: a true family event,” said race director Jordan.

The Kids 1K, which starts at 12:00 noon at the finish line of the half marathon, is also a chance for kids to get in some distance on race day. The completely flat, non-competitive fun run brushes the shores of the Big Lake and finishes under the half marathon arch. All finishers receive a medal and can reload with water, candy, Gatorade and freeze pops after the race. Registration for the Kids 1K is available online at https://www.lin-mark.com/RaceDetails.aspx?guid=74cc3b3a-1ade-4871-830a-2a81222afed4.

Wishful Running Comes to Big Lake
A new component to Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon is its partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire, which helps grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. At the first year of the Wish Racing program at EndorFUN Sports' 2009 Timberman triathlon festival, about 83 athletes raised nearly $55,000 for Make-A-Wish New Hampshire. In 2010, proceeds from the Wish Racing program granted eight wishes and raised more than $55,000.

This new program is starting to make a difference. More than 100 children annually in New Hampshire qualify for a wish; 2011 is the year you can help make a child’s wish come true. Fundraising levels start at $150; Wish Racers will receive a uniform, swag items and VIP perks on race day—possibly the most coveted perk at past races was access to a decorated Wish Racer porto-potty on race morning. For more information on Wish Racing, visit http://www.biglakehalfmarathon.com/biglake/wish-racer.html. “It’s an opportunity for folks to make a difference in children’s lives while running in a great race,” said Jordan. “It’s easy to do, and every little bit helps.”

 

 

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