Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay
Sunday, November 6, 2011 marks the fifth annual Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay. Experience the Queen City and its history as you run through the flourishing downtown, along historic mill buildings and through welcoming neighborhoods. Yes, be part of something spectacular this fall.
Posted Sunday, 23 October, 2011
See why running a marathon or half marathon in the Granite State’s biggest city truly rocks. The excitement starts even before race day—with a star-studded Health and Fitness Expo and Kids Marathon on Saturday, and carries through to the starting gun on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 8:50 a.m. The start will be broadcast live on WMUR-TV’s morning news, as it has from the beginning. And the thrills only build from there, as runners embark on a journey through nearly all of Manchester’s neighborhoods—up and down hills on the city’s east side, over wooded trails, across the rushing Merrimack River, and through west side neighborhoods, and back to Veteran’s Park. There’s also an early start option, which allows runners to hit the streets at 7:50 a.m. if they expect to run the marathon in more than five hours.
The marathon, half marathon and first leg of the four-person marathon relay all start near Veteran’s Park on Elm Street and just a block from the Athlete’s Village (Veterans Park), where runners can stretch, hydrate, warm up and prepare for the race ahead. Registration is open now; visit http://cityofmanchestermarathon.com/registration.htm to sign up today!
This year’s race is all about the runners, said race director Sarah Normand. “We’re really focusing on the runners and their experience this year. And we want to help people qualify for Boston. We’ll have more pace groups, entertainment and community involvement on all parts of the course, so runners can really get swept up in the excitement,” added Normand.
Excitement on the East Side
After leaving Elm Street, runners head north on Commercial Street—flanked by revitalized red brick mill buildings on both sides. Once you’re out of the mills, you hit the first incline and head into the city’s North End, passing a mix of modern homes, historic farm houses and spacious parks as well as hundreds of cheering spectators. Once you crest the hill on River Road, take a right turn onto Union Street and then a left onto Campbell to shake out the legs on a little downhill section before turning right and heading off road onto some easy trails by Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.
Named after George Horace Dorr, who purchased the land in the 1800s, Dorrs Pond gives runners a reprieve from the pavement. After it was created in 1862 when nearby Ray Brook was dammed, Dorrs Pond became Manchester’s big enterprise for ice harvesting. At the time, an ice house existed on the property and employed 22 people. Dorrs Pond history also notes that this artificial impoundment was used to wash off and cool down circus elephants when the Big Top came to town. You won’t see any elephants in the pond on race day, but take a cue from them and grab some fluids at one—at the pond--of many water stops on the course. Water stops packed with both water and sports drink will be found every three miles through mile 21 and then at miles 23 and 25.
Cross the street and up a slight hill to take in more east-side neighborhoods as you run down Belmont Street and turn left for a slight uphill onto traffic-free Reservoir Avenue around mile 8. Enjoy the crowd-lined streets along Bridge Street before turning left onto Hanover Street where you tackle a short uphill before the steep, steady downhill back to Elm Street.
Half-marathoners—this is your cue. Now is the time to check your watch and kick it in for a strong finish and a well-earned PR. A left turn at the corner of Hanover and Elm Streets brings you full circle to the 13.1 finish line.
Endurance on the West Side
For marathon runners my advice is to dial it back a bit. Be careful not to get caught up in the excitement of the crowds… or you may regret it during the second half. You still have a lot more city to cover!
Take a right turn onto Elm Street and take some time to reflect on the rest of your journey as you head over Bridge Street and across the rushing Merrimack River. Good news, the second half of the course is flatter than the first half, but there are a few strategically placed hills to make that finisher’s medal well-deserved.
Travel through Manchester’s West Side and into neighboring Pinardville and Goffstown to tackle the famed hill on Daniel Plummer Road before cruising down through the campus of St. Anselm’s College and its raucus crowds and race volunteers. Miles 20 through 22 take you through the town of Bedford before crossing back over into Manchester for those final miles. The last 5K includes a nice flat stretch through the Queen City’s residential area, onto Hanover Street and then a final left turn onto Elm Street for a sprint to the finish.
Soak in the crowds lining Elm Street and listen for your name as you cross the finish line. Then collect your medal and head into the Athlete’s Village for some much-deserved post-marathon chili. Relax in the village while listening to some live music or grab a post-marathon massage to reward yourself for a race well run.
An All-Star Expo at a Five-Star Race
The Anthem Manchester City Marathon Health and Fitness expo will be held at the conveniently located Radisson Hotel on Elm Street. This free event, which is open to the public, takes place on Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And it’s sure to have something for everyone!
Runners must visit the expo to pick up their packets, which include a long-sleeve wicking custom Manchester City Marathon shirt as well as some extra goodies geared specifically to runners. Family and friends will want to visit the expo to check out exhibitor booths for information and products on health, fitness, nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Expo attendees can also participate in free health screenings and get a free flu shot.
The expo also gives you a chance to meet Christopher McDougall, author of the national bestseller Born to Run, which chronicles McDougall’s search for the infamous running tribe—the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. Throughout his journey, McDougall not only unearths this phenomenal group of super runners but also transforms himself into an ultra-marathoner who tackles a 50 mile trail race through the Mexican desert. Listen to McDougall’s fascinating stories of ultra running and have him sign your copy of Born to Run while you’re at the expo. If you need any bit of inspiration for race weekend, you’ll find it here. Christopher McDougall will also be the guest of honor at the VIP dinner on Thursday, November 3rd at the Radisson. Tickets for the dinner are available to all runners and family for $20 each. Visit the website for more information.
Kids’ Marathon: Miles to a Healthy Future
The Anthem Manchester Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay will again feature the Kids’ Marathon on Saturday, November 5th at Livingston Park in Manchester. This free event emphasizes health and fitness starting at a young age to help integrate physical activity in kids’ day-to-day lives.
The unique Kids Marathon brings children from Manchester schools, as well as surrounding towns and cities, together to run the last few miles of their marathon run. In the months building up to race day, kids in grades 1 through 8 accumulate miles by running or participating in other fitness-related activities. Runner’s Alley, which has locations in Nashua, Manchester and Portsmouth, will offer a free training program for kids starting this August to help them safely build up miles and prepare for their marathon race. All Kids’ Marathon finishers will receive a commemorative Finisher’s prize and a t-shirt. Register early for this great activity; yes, it is free. It’s the perfect way to keep kids moving throughout the summer break!
Making a Difference at Manchester
In 2008, the Manchester City Marathon began its charity partner program, allowing runners to raise money for causes that are important to them. Charities associated with the race include the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Child and Family Services, New Hampshire Food Bank, and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
Runners can also raise money for a charity that isn’t a direct partner with the race. For more information, visit http://cityofmanchestermarathon.com/charities.htm. And making a difference is easy! Simply select the charity you’re fundraising for when registering online and you’ll receive information on how to set up your personal donation website page.
Boston’s Within Reach—In More Ways Than One
This November’s Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay has a race distance for everyone. Easy to get to from points north and south—and only a few miles from the Manchester Boston Regional airport and Interstate 93—Manchester is the perfect race getaway location—just off the Granite Street Exit from Route 3! With so many great local hotels, restaurants and museums in downtown Manchester, ample parking, as well as the nearby White Mountains, rich in stunning fall colors; and the beautiful seacoast, I couldn’t think of a better time or place for a weekend of racing!