Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon and Half Marathon: Flat, Fast and Made Just for You
Here you go--fast course, live music, and great Smuttynose beer fresh from just down the street. It is your race, your way. The fourth annual Smuttynose Marathon, Half Marathon and Rockfest is a classic New England event and terrific qualifier running October 2, 2011.
Posted Monday, 8 August, 2011
Catch a rising star. How else do you describe a road race that had 700 participants in its first year, 2008, and 1,700 participants in its third year, 2010? And it will sell out this year at 2,500—seriously, the demand has been phenomenal. Talk with friends and teammates and suggest they set aside October 2nd, this year’s date for the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon/Half Marathon in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, and do it now.
For its first two years Smuttynose Rockfest was a half marathon only, then the marathon was added in 2010. And, as the numbers indicate, the event has not taken long to become one of the more popular stops on the fall New England road race schedule and one of New England’s better marathons and half marathons. In 2010 it was one of the top five largest races in New Hampshire. For now the half marathon has more finishers than the marathon but followers of the local running scene are predicting the marathon will become one of the largest in New England. It is a great Boston qualifier and a wonderfully scenic course.
A closer look at what the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon/Half Marathon has to offer explains its quick rise in popularity. With the race being held on the first weekend in October it takes place right in the middle of autumn’s long distance race schedule. Whether they run 13.1 or 26.2 miles, October is the perfect time to run those distances in New England. Smuttynose Rockfest gives long distance runners a chance to pick either a half marathon or marathon when the weather is ideal. Average temperatures in Hampton Beach for October 2nd show a high of 67, low of 44 and the mean temperature for the day at 55.
Then there is that business person’s success or lament: location, location, location! There are few long distance races with the ease of travel that Smuttynose Rockfest offers. Hampton Beach is about one hour from Boston and Portland, Maine and only 45 minutes from Manchester, N.H. Located just off routes I-95 (north-south) and Route 101 (east-west) the race is an easy drive from points north, south, and west. And the thousands of runners who make up the rich running communities of New Hampshire and neighboring states will take advantage.
With the race being held in Hampton Beach the event is also perfect for spectators. While the runners are on the course family and friends can take a walk on the beach, grab something to eat, or visit one of the local stores. One might even say that visiting Hampton Beach in early October is a lot nicer than in the middle of the summer. Less traffic makes parking and walking around a lot easier.
Yes, it is good location. Check. The race is held during a great time of the year. Check. Anything else? Oh yeah, the course. There is no question that one of the incentives for running a fall marathon in New England is to qualify for a future Boston Marathon—the measure of the success of a marathon effort. With Boston’s new qualifying guidelines based on faster marathon times, a course that is ideal for a qualifier will be the race of choice, thus the demand for this event. So, let’s hear what the Smuttynose Rockfest has to say: According to the race’s website in 2010 “almost 31% of the field qualified on a picture-perfect day with a tail wind for the last 5 miles.” Wait, there’s more. After a slight modification to the course the website claims this is the flattest course in New England for a Marathon, and half marathon.” Flat course. Check.
Another way this event is runner friendly is the pacers. In the half marathon there will be pacers for runners who want to run seven minutes, eight minutes, eight-thirty, and nine minutes per mile. No wonder this race is expected to sell out its 3,000 entries.
In addition to the course being flat it will offer the bonus of being scenic. Much of the course is run along the coastline. It is no small wonder many a runner is seen with his or her camera in tow. Many runners drive long distances just to train along these shores, it is that inspiring.
Let’s not forget the name of the race, Smuttynose Rockfest. What does that mean? Simply put a rocking party at the finish. After running 13.1 or 26.2 miles, runners are treated to a beer tent on one side of the finish area, live music on the other side, and plenty of refreshments in the middle. Smiles abound as runners wear their customized finisher’s medal and enjoy a great post-race atmosphere—it is a party, a festival. As a past participant put it, “I went to a party and a road race broke out.”
Is there anything the runners don’t get at this race? Technically, yes. Turns out marathoners don’t get the shirts the half marathoners get. That’s because the marathoners get a souvenir jacket instead, a very cool souvenir jacket!
The growth of the Smuttynose Rockfest event comes as no surprise when one examines who is behind all the excitement. Smuttynose Rockfest is another event produced by the good folks of LOCO Running. Producers of many New England events, most in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, LOCO races have earned the reputation of being first class events. From start to finish LOCO races take care of runner’s needs then offer the extras, like great post-race parties. The LOCO brand has become synonymous with the best races in the region and Smuttynose Rockfest is no exception. How else do you explain its tremendous growth in such a short time? The LOCO folks are, first and foremost, runners themselves; they participate in many events and look at their productions from the RUNNERS’ point of view.
The competition should be strong at the front of the pack. The list of half marathon winners include the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon winner, Dan Vassallo of Reading, Massachusetts, and two of New Hampshire’s top runners, Tammie Robie of Milford, N.H. and Abby Gosling of Meredith, N.H. Former University of New Hampshire runner Casey Carroll of Dover, N.H. won the inaugural marathon in 2010.
It’s a road race, it’s a party, and it’s a happening. It’s the 2011 Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon/Half Marathon and it’s coming to a location near you on October 2nd.
We are going to Hampton Beach for this race! Check!
(For more information on the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon/Half Marathon go to http://www.hamptonrockfest.com