The Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon—More FUN than You Thought Possible
The Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon, now in its 11th year, has all the qualities and amenities of a great race, and more. It has a wonderfully scenic course, and keeps runners coming back year after year. Although not an easy run, this 13.1-mile gem has the perfect blend of inclines and flats to keep runners feeling good with beautiful lake and mountain vistas throughout.
Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012
The half marathon is becoming a popular event, and runners look for the characteristics of an event to be considered a “must do” race in New England’s busy spring racing calendar. Now in year 11, the Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half marathon includes these qualities—great amenities, spectacular course, live music, great food and party, mountain vistas, gorgeous lake shore, enthusiastic volunteers, eight unique aid stations, and more. Its challenging but fantastic 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 the energy level high.
Great amenities for your effort too! They will provide a multi-color tech shirt, finisher’s medal, bib-chip timing, mile splits with digital clocks at each, live music along the course and at the finish celebration, post race food worthy of your commitment, cheerleaders and competing, enthusiastic, fully stocked aid stations. The awe-inspiring White Mountains and Ossipee Range, Alton Bay shoreline, and New Hampshire forest lands in full spring explosion will rock your running world.
Another thing that makes Make-A-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon such a popular event is planned fun for the whole family. There is a kids’ zone—kids do not like watching adults run long—which will entertain the kids all during the morning. 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, games and other really fun stuff.
The Big Lake and the Course
Lake Winnipesaukee and Alton Bay are tremendously beautiful at any time, but especially in spring. 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, appropriately enough on School Street. 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 and attractions along the way that place Big Lake in that column of 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, and food. 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.
The EndorFUN group really does put the emphasis on FUN, and you should check out their other events on the Website: http://www.biglakehalfmarathon.com/biglake/index.html.
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 Will 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 11th birthday and you’re invited. You will have 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 on the bay. Nosh on some complimentary treats from Little Caesars' Pizza, Hannaford Supermarket, and Stonyfield Farm yogurt, as well as some other surprise goodies.
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 the food at the Big Lake Biergarten, located at Shibley’s On the Pier, where you can imbibe with adult carbs from Harpoon Brewery and listen to even more live music.
Need More Inspiration? 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, so check out the Website: http://www.biglakehalfmarathon.com/biglake/index.html. The registration fee will soon increase so check it out.
Race-day parking is available at the Alton Central School as well as the finish line. There will also be 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. “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 http://www.biglakehalfmarathon.com/biglake/index.html.
Check that Website out for general information, the Make-A-Wish Club Challenge, registration, the music “playbill”, directions, parking, FAQ, volunteer opportunities, sponsors, the Kids’ Zone and Fun Run, rules, maps, photos, previous results, EndorFUN events and training plans, community, forums, nearby attractions, the unique “inspiration Station”, the merchandise store, and more. Again, note the emphasis is on FUN!
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. http://www.newhampshire.wish.org. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised for Make-a-Wish through the Wish Racing program at EndorFUN Sports' several events.
This new program is starting to make a difference. More than 100 children annually in New Hampshire qualify for a wish; 2012 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 previous 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.”
This race will sell out, so we suggest that you get on the registration list right away, and enjoy all that is offered at the Make-a-Wish Big Lake Half Marathon.