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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the reach the beach relay - adventurous team building in scenic new england

The Reach the Beach Relay - Adventurous Team Building in Scenic New England
The Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire evokes ardent passions for running and adventure. Runners love distance relays. This event will be the manifestation of team building.

The Reach the Beach Relay - Adventurous Team Building in Scenic New England
Great ocean views

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 24 August, 2004

With superior, praiseworthy organization, and with Eastern Mountain Sports as the primary sponsor, it is ideal for competitive running clubs, and for dynamic companies with vision. The sixth annual Reach the Beach Relay will be a unique and defining race--simply the event of the year for many teams and corporations.

The Reach the Beach Relay will run over 200 miles through the spectacular scenery of northern New England. The autumn trek will pack an unforgettable experience-of-a-lifetime into 24 hours. It will run from beautiful Bretton Woods in the heart of the White Mountains to the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. On September 17th the 225 teams will set off in waves from the shadow of Mount Washington along rugged ski trails. The 12-person teams will run around the clock, completing 36 relay legs or stages, each with well-designed transfer points and rest areas. And on September 18th they will celebrate their victory and trade stories with a huge party among the waves of Hampton Beach.


The Reach the Beach Relay will run over 200 miles through the spectacular scenery of northern New England. The autumn trek will pack an unforgettable experience-of-a-lifetime into 24 hours.


This event is exceptionally well organized; every detail is covered, offering a valuable and memorable experience to all participants. Organizers have developed a race handbook, more comprehensive and sensible than any other single event, which governs safety and competition. It addresses concerns for all stakeholders—runners, volunteers, communities, the state, and the environment. Their informative Web Site,, provides a wealth of information, including maps and on-line registration. It was this incredible standard of organization and thoughtful care that brought Eastern Mountain Sports to enthusiastic sponsorship of the relay.

Who Will Run

There are 18 separate divisions—six for women, six for men, and six mixed—that make this event available and competitive for all. Three corporate categories create tremendous opportunities for companies throughout the country to show their corporate colors with the ultimate team-building program. Running clubs, schools, and social organizations will all be represented from throughout the region, the USA, and Canada. There are only 225 exclusive team slots available—first come basis--in order to maintain the very high level of quality for the event. The 2,700 participants will share a well-planned, carefully choreographed race from the White Mountains to the sea.

The three corporate divisions—open women, open men, and mixed open—are in great demand because of their tremendous value, not only as an adventure, but also as a company resource. Employees can show corporate logos and banners, and use the event to develop and target employee fitness and wellness programs. Participation can vastly improve employee morale. They can save money on consultants’ fees, and develop a concrete program with RTB as an annual goal. Corporate competition will be an increasingly important part of the overall event.

Running clubs and other organizations from throughout the country will challenge in the open, masters super masters, and grand masters divisions in all three categories. The Ultra teams—made up of four to six members—add a different dynamic altogether. New England clubs will challenge the best from other regions. Some clubs will send teams to compete with each other. Schools and social organizations will participate for the challenging experience, and many will use the event as a fundraiser.

Your Company

How much would your company pay for a team-building, morale-boosting outing? Many would pay plenty, and they do. For a fraction of the cost any company can provide a truly novel adventure in New Hampshire. They can sign up as a team—or several teams--to take part in the corporate division of the Reach the Beach Relay. Then watch the magic happen.

This relay will be the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork; shared aspirations and experiences will drive teams toward their common goal. It will be the ideal team-building exercise for many companies, small and large. For any company, the noteworthy organization of this event offers opportunities for team building that would be enormously expensive in other settings, and far less effective. Three corporate categories offer tremendous opportunities for companies to bond with teammates and build morale.

About EMS

For Eastern Mountain Sports, partnering with this event is a perfect fit. They have a New England heritage. Nine of their 88 stores are located in the Granite State, with 17 more in neighboring Massachusetts. The 208.6-mile course will pass many of the cliffs and ledges where the Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School is active. The relay will bridge many streams where graduates of the EMS Kayaking School often ply the waters.

EMS will contribute volunteers and broad support for the race, including 2,700 of their patented Techwick long-sleeved T-shirts—one for every runner.

“The company was founded on a sincere love for the outdoors, and its employees are enthusiastic advocates for competition and conservation,” said EMS Marketing Manager Mark Van Saun. “This is a true community event all along the course, located in our home region,” he continued. In a recent interview, Van Saun was very enthusiastic about getting into running condition himself to participate on one of five EMS teams expected to answer the call. He’s using it a fitness focus and target, just like so many from other companies.

EMS entered four teams last year, and one of them included Rick Fecowicz, Director of Hard Goods, who has participated in the last four relays. He loves the event. CEO Will Manzer is an enthusiastic backer as well, and this will be the second year his company has supported RTB since he took the helm.

“It was the terrific organization and ambiance of the event that drew us to it,” said Van Saun. “Ours is a company that lives and breathes outdoor adventure, and that shows in our product development, and in our support of Reach the Beach,” he continued.

Eastern Mountain Sports was begun in 1967 in support of climbers, and has the oldest and largest climbing school in the northeast. They have stores from Maryland to Maine, and now four in Michigan and three in Colorado. They cover the entire country by offering shopping on-line. The Web Sites include,, and

Teams, Miles, Community

The relay has grown each year, and this year will expand from 200 to 225 teams because of high demand. Most teams will enter 12 runners, each running three of the 36 legs. Teams with less than 12 (8 to 11) runners are welcome, but must run more legs to compensate. All teams run in sequential order. There is an “Ultra Division” of no more than 6 members (4 to 6), and they will run at least six legs each. The ultra category is the only one for which a runner can run consecutive legs. All others hand off in sequence. Individual runners may apply, and will be matched up with teams whenever possible.

The relay is manageable for average runners, and all 36 legs are scenic and enjoyable. The shortest leg is 2.4 miles, and the longest is 8.8 (two). The average for the 36 legs is 5.794 miles (the course is 208.6 total miles). Legs are categorized as easy, easy to moderate, moderate, moderate to hard, hard, very hard, and extremely hard. The very hard and extremely hard earn the tag because of a combination of hills and distance. Most of the legs (23) fall into the easy to moderate categories. Eleven legs are moderately hard to very hard, and just two are extremely hard—the first and the eighth legs. Safety concerns have the highest priority at all times.

This will be a community event up and down the course. Support and involvement from local clubs, organizations, and dozens of Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops make all runners feel welcome. Runners and volunteers will enjoy the hospitality of the communities along the route—night and day. For example in Candia, leg 26, runners are treated to an all-you-can-eat breakfast, cooked by the Candia Volunteer Fire Department—beginning at 4 a.m.! At Sandwich Center School, leg 14, they specialize in lamb stew for all participants. The Tamworth Community School bakes home made chocolate chip cookies at leg 13. There will be surprises. There will be memories. You will want to have a camera. Co-Director Mike Dionne, who conceived the relay in 1998 along with Co-Director Rich Mazzola, tried from the beginning to involve as many community organizations as possible, with obvious success.

The Course, the Road Less Traveled

Even before the race begins there will be enjoyable moments. A pre-race dinner will be provided on Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m., and then a pre-race breakfast on the big day from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Both will be held at the newly renovated Breton Woods Base Lodge. The race will begin in starting waves—seeded by time--every 15 to 30 minutes, starting at 8:00 a.m. The last, fast teams will blast of at 6:00 p.m. playing team pursuit with 220 others.

The starting line is at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area, located in Crawford Notch. The first five legs run along the flanks of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, including Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast. The National Mountain Running Championship will run to the summit of this famous mountain in June 2004.

The New Hampshire State Park system, one of the best in the nation, will be in evidence all along the course, including Echo Lake and Bear Brook, for example. Some have campgrounds. Many of the 35 transition areas are in or near parks. Five very carefully selected vehicle transition areas (VTA’s) provide plenty of space and all necessary facilities for hydration, rest, and refueling. They will greatly simplify planning and logistics for teams. Proceeds from the race will benefit the New Hampshire State Park system and community organizations along the race route.

The course leaves the mountains behind and courses through the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire, including the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Quintessential New England farms and villages will provide many photo opportunities. Many homes and structures along the route date from revolutionary times. Volunteers in many of the quaint small villages and towns will provide support as runners visit their communities.

Hampton Beach and the finish line will be only 10 miles away when the ocean comes into view. The last two legs are immediately adjacent to the picturesque shore of the Atlantic. The entire team will likely cross the finish line with the final runner at the Hampton Beach State Park. Competitors, volunteers, and families will relax and exchange stories about the trek and its most memorable moments. The party will include plenty of food, massage, and music on the beach.

Peak Performance, Peak Foliage

The Reach the Beach Relay—September 17 and 18--will be held at the beginning of the famous peak foliage season in northern New Hampshire. The luminosity of the foliage in the Granite State is so impressive that all participants should remain another week to enjoy the majestic beauty of the White Mountains. They could, perhaps, enjoy some of that climbing, hiking, and kayaking which has made Eastern Mountain Sports a household name in the Northeast.

Awards and Rewards

The fastest team overall will win a free entry into the 2005 edition of the race, a significant value. The fastest overall female, male, and mixed teams will win Reebok running shoes for each member. The first team in each of the 18 divisions will win a fuel belt for each teammate from Fuel Belt, Inc. Team photos will be professionally shot at the finish. All participants will receive a RTB medal. Most importantly, every team and every participant will gain the greatest reward, the memorable experience, the team camaraderie, and overall satisfaction. It will be an unforgettable moment, finishing the challenge that will be the sixth annual Reach the Beach Relay, the longest continuous major relay in North America.



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