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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the fred brown lake winnipesaukee relay is a 24-year classic and new england tradition—eight challenging and scenic legs

The Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay is a 24-Year Classic and New England Tradition—Eight Challenging and Scenic Legs
One Fantastic Day! Teammates and friends look forward to the 65.1-mile Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay—Running Saturday, September 8, and brought to you exclusively by the North Medford Club.

The Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay is a 24-Year Classic and New England Tradition—Eight Challenging and Scenic Legs

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012

The Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay is one of the best team relay events in the country; certainly tops among single day events. And what a beautiful location it is—Northern New Hampshire’s lake country. It’s an eight-leg relay circumnavigation one of New England’s largest lakes. This will be the 24th exciting run, Saturday, September 8, beginning at 8:00 a.m. This is two weeks earlier than normal to avoid several race conflicts. This terrific “must do” event along the beautiful shore of Lake Winnipesaukee will begin and end at Funspot, Route 3, Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. For GPS purposes that is 579 Endicott Street North, Laconia, NH 03246.

Excellent organization and flawless planning will provide you and your team with one terrific racing adventure. It will be an ideal time to visit Lake Winnipesaukee—the summer crowds will be gone and leaf peepers (and traffic) several weeks away. It will be another classic event in a beautiful region at an ideal time. Is your team ready for the challenge—65.1 miles in eight legs? It is one day and done in one of the most enjoyable team events in the sport. Legs are 10.7, 11.0, 9.3, 4.0, 10.8, 6.4, 8.5, and 4.4. There are some easy ones and some challenging ones so it accommodates runners of all abilities.

There will be many highly competitive teams of course, but there are also many just in it for the fun and enjoyment--the most fun you can have road racing!

Please visit the website at for details on registration—online or mail in. And you will find details on everything else too: Directions, accommodations, leg descriptions and maps, FAQ’s, Awards, rules, past results and photos, restaurants and area attractions.

There are a few changes this year: The third handoff (leg three to leg four) will be back to the front drive of the Kingswood High School (where it has been for years), and not Kingswood Art Center where it was last year, though the route and distance are virtually the same. Also at the fourth handoff (Abenaki Ski Area and Pop Whalen Ice Arena), the parking lots have been expanded so parking will be allowed there again this year. No buses to and from that handoff will be needed. (Buses will continue to go to and from the Morgan Farm Handoff Only.)

Early registration packets have been mailed, for later ones advance packet pick up on Friday night will again be at the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound, 70 Endicott Street North, Laconia (Weirs Beach) 03246, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday evening, September 7th. Late packet pickup and late registration will also be available race day morning at Funspot from 6:30 a.m. -- Baton (with a course map inside), T-shirts, and race packets will be available.

It is a competitive highlight for many clubs and organizations, and an ideal team outing or weekend away.


The awards ceremony will be at Funspot near the finish line, beginning at 6:00 p.m. And there will be post race refreshments served for all participants. Additionally, many clubs and organizations look forward to their own annual cookouts and parties—a great tradition, and a great chance to socialize with friends old and new.

There are no corporate sponsors for this venerable contest. The North Medford Club exclusively provides this great relay, without sponsorship, in their best traditions. The T-shirts and awards tell us volumes about their organization: There are no corporate names and products; only the race logo (the famous Loon), the year, and the club name in a tasteful design. And T-shirts will be custom tech shirts this year—women’s sizing and unisex for men.

A visit to their Website will tell you just how many events the NMC provides for the running community—races all year long throughout southern and central New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts. The NMC has contributed tremendously to the sport over many years. It is worthy of the legacy of Fred Brown. If there were a hall of fame for running clubs, they would be among the first inductees.

Flexible, Competitive, Fun
Whether your relay team has 5, 6, 7, or 8 members, this event is the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork, and just plain old-fashioned fun. It is a competitive highlight for many clubs and organizations, and an ideal team outing or weekend away.

There will be many highly competitive teams of course, but there are also many just in it for the fun and enjoyment--the most fun you can have road racing!


It is an enjoyable athletic and logistical challenge, a challenge welcomed by all runners. There’s always one team member running, and others in support all along the 65.1-mile course. Teammates get to cheer and support their runner, and also experience one of the great resort destinations of the Northeast. It is one day and done—but what a day, what a memorable time with friends.

There is a long list of terrific reasons to run this one--scenic course, team flexibility, terrific organization, and wonderful teamwork among them. Whether your team is aiming for a championship, or running simply for fun and finish—there is nothing quite like this experience.

There are 18 Divisions--Opportunity for All
Teams can be five to eight runners in any combination. There are some recent rules changes that may make things easier: Runners may run two consecutive legs—that is, if a teammate is not there for the handoff, the runner can keep going, or hand to a substitute runner. And an injured runner can be replaced during her or his leg if necessary, without disqualification.

In addition to the top overall women’s, men’s, and mixed winners, teams will compete for 18 age group and divisional titles, including Under 20, Open, Masters, Seniors, Veterans, and Corporate.

Legs vary from 4.0 miles to 11.0 miles. Six of the eight have challenging, rolling hills, designed for several ability levels on the same team.

All groups are encouraged to join this adventure—Running clubs, schools, neighbors, families, social organizations, and corporate entities. New teams are welcome in all brackets. Teams can be all men, all women, or mixed. It’s a terrific opportunity for clubs and companies to show their colors in competition. This race is a team building exercise for companies and organizations.

Divisional teams will be categorized according to the youngest member (except that all members of the Under 20 teams must be exactly that). For example, if a team is all masters but has one runner under 40, it would be listed as an open team. There are no age designations for Corporate Teams.

Mixed teams of five must have at least two women. If there are six or seven members on a mixed team, there must be at least three women; and for a full complement of eight mixed, there must be a four-four split.

Register On-line or By Mail
The above link will take you to for on-line registration. There is also a printable application on the Website if you wish to register by mail.

Early registration allows the NMC to mail race packets in advance, a big advantage for team captains.

Baton (with a course map inside), T-shirts, and race packets will be available at the Lobster Pound as noted, and again on race day morning at Funspot beginning at 6:30 a.m. Late registration is also available at these times, if necessary.

Terrific Course--Eight Legs
What a great course—as beautiful as it is challenging. There are farms, villages, historic structures, marinas, hotels, shops, general stores, a railroad, the M/V Mount Washington, beautiful views of the great lake, and so much more along this phenomenal course. There will be a hint of fall and the annual explosion of autumn colors.

Race day at 8:00 a.m. hundreds of athletes will speed away from Funspot and along the lakeshore, adding color and excitement to the race day scene.

The course will be well marked. Look for the bright orange markers, and black arrows—the colors of the North Medford Club. Water stations and relay points will be staffed with support crews and volunteers all along the perimeter of the beautiful, famous lake. Every leg is timed for all runners, and all times will be posted on Cool Running.

The loop around Lake Winnipesaukee passes through many towns. The eight largest are Weirs Beach, Laconia, Guilford, Alton, Wolfeboro, Moultonboro, Meredith, and Center Harbor. Legs have a range of difficulty and a variety of terrain—two are relatively easy, and some tough. Others are hilly, but terrifically scenic and enjoyable.

The first leg is 10.7 miles, running from Funspot and along the Weirs Beach waterfront. There are a few challenging hills, but also some beautiful lakeside views. The last mile is mostly uphill, with the handoff at the Arlberg Ski Shop near the entrance to Gunstock Ski Area.

The second leg is an 11-miler running from the ski shop to Alton Bay. There is considerable downhill and also rolling to flat terrain in this leg, the longest. Much of it runs along Alton Bay, the southeastern arm of the lake. There are views of the surrounding mountain ranges, the Belknap Mountains on the south side and the Ossipee Mountains on the northeast. Alton is one of the stops for the M/V Mount Washington, as well as homeport for hundreds of smaller craft.

The third leg begins at Alton Bay bandstand and heads north into Wolfeboro. After only 2/10 mile, Bay Hill Road—a chin scraper—is a significant start of the 9.3-mile challenge. There is very little flat terrain on this leg, although there are no more really steep inclines after Bay Hill. The final mile into historic Wolfeboro is scenic, and challenging, with the handoff point at Kingswood Art Center.

Leg four is an easy, relaxing, mostly flat four miles from the art center to the Abenaki Ski Area. Just over one mile into this leg comes the halfway point for the entire race.

Leg five is the second longest at 10.8 miles, beginning at Abenaki Ski Area and running to Morgan Farm in Moultonboro. This is one of the most scenic legs, largely wooded and very rural.

The sixth is a rolling 6.4 from the farm to Moultonboro High School. There are great views of the surrounding mountains during this pleasant, relatively easy leg.

An 8.5-mile, rolling challenge is the penultimate section from Moultonboro High School to Interlakes High School in Center Harbor on Route 25. And the final leg is 4.4 miles, but almost all of it is on very visible hills, both up and down. It runs from Interlakes High School through Meredith and along the harbor. There is a challenging uphill finish at Funspot to the cheers of teammates and spectators.

Whether the first team to finish or the last (in about 11:00 hours), all will receive enthusiastic support along the course and at the finish line. What a beautiful course!

Mr. Running and Racing, Fred Brown
The legendary Fred Brown was a founding father of the sport. The Fred Brown Winnipesaukee Relay is named for, and held in memory of, this true racing pioneer and innovative legend.

Fred Brown was the driving force behind road racing and race walking in New England for years. He founded and directed more races than any other person in history. He was the “Johnny Appleseed of Running”, also called the “Missionary of Racing”. He could, and did, direct races out of the trunk of his car. He founded many events decades ago that are still running today.

Relay Traditions
This event has tradition, with 23 years at Winnipesaukee. However, it was preceded by the famous Plymouth to Provincetown Relay, which ran for 15 years (1974-1988) on Cape Cod. Crowding and construction on the Cape required Fred Brown to move the relay to Lake Winnipesaukee beginning in 1989. The first three years, the Lake Winnipesaukee Relay started and finished at the Gunstock Ski Area (near the current first handoff point).

The course has been essentially the same for the past 15 years. Each leg is timed, with complete results posted, along with the overall team finish time and place. All teams will compete for the coveted Winnipesaukee Loon Awards, once wooden carvings and now handsome glasses with the famous Winnipesaukee Relay logo.

Sign Up for a Great Outing
The Lake Winnipesaukee Relay is one of the top single-day team relay races in the country. This event is generating serous excitement this year, and will be competitive, challenging, and enjoyable. Most individuals and clubs are welcoming the change to the second weekend in September. Be sure your team is a part of the 23 running.

This event builds—and defines—camaraderie in running. It will be a memorable experience—a challenge and a really good time in a beautiful location.

Join the celebration at the finish line, and refresh, refill, relax. Retell the memorable stories of your traditions at the Fred Brown Lake Winnipesaukee Relay.

The Fred Brown Winnipesaukee Relay provides the opportunity for all teams--highly competitive and those out to simply have fun —to enjoy one of the best days they will ever experience as a team. The venerable North Medford Club will present this classic on Saturday, September 10, 2011. You can visit the NMC Website, e-mail or call (978) 537-7294 for additional information.



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