The Eighth Annual Great Bay Half Marathon and Beyond the Rainbow 5K - Newmarket, New Hampshire
There's a new starting line on Main Street for this popular Half Marathon and accompanying 5K, part of the classic "Will Run for Beer" Series. It runs April 6, 2014 in the fascinating mill town of Newmarket, New Hampshire, with storybook course and scenery. . It is sponsored by the Exeter Hospital. The organization and amenities are top notch, one of those "must do" spring races in New England.
Posted Monday, 10 March, 2014
This race is a gem by any standard, and is the third installment in the now classic "Will Run for Beer" Seacoast Series. This is a beautiful course with a NEW start line on Main Street close to the phenomenal downhill finish. It begins and ends in the lovely, historic mill town of Newmarket. It is a scenic rural course that has long been used for training by the folks at LOCO Sports, according to Race Director Mike St. Laurent (AKA the LOCO Guy). With the new start they've arranged a more convenient start-finish combination. The terrific down slope finish on a completely closed Main Street is the same. Large crowds will again pack downtown to cheer as runners speed down towards teh finish bridge.
The post race celebrations begin only steps away from the finish in lovely Schanda Park on the waterfront.
This event has become a classic for spring racing in New England, a regional magnet for many and a signature event for the folks at LOCO Sports. Both races, the challenging half marathon and the Beyond the Rainbow 5K, kick off with an 11:00 a.m. start. The accompanying 5K allows everyone to get into the action in a big-time event, and both races enjoy being part of the "Will Run for Beer Series" established by LOCO several years ago.
Newmarket is only minutes off Interstate 95 on the New Hampshire Seacoast, and sits at the intersection of Routes 108 and 152, about midway between Route 101 and US Route 4 in Durham. Please see the directions page on the race Website for Newmarket, NH, 03857. http://www.greatbayhalf.com/
Number Pick Up and Amenities
There will be an opportunity to pick up your bib number and shirt the day before the race, on Saturday, April 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Packet pickup will also be available race day morning, April 6 from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Computer chip (B-tag) timing by Yankee Timing Company using the Chronotrack system will provide accurate and immediate results for all. The chips are built into the bib number, are light, disposable (or a keepsake), and very accurate.
There will be a bag check prior to the start, which is 11:00 a.m. for both at the new location downtown this year. Custom wicking T-shirts will be provided for all pre-registered half marathon runners, and half they receive a commemorative finisher’s medal upon crossing the line. The 5K runners receive a nice cotton T-shirt. The half marathon has five-year age groups, awarding top three overall and top three in each group. The 5K has 10-year groups (see below). There are plenty of porto-lets—at the start, finish, and along the course. There are five water stops along the half marathon and every other one has Gatorade—with energy gel at mile 6.2.
This race is part of the LOCO "Will Run for Beer Series", so expect the food and refreshments at Schanda Park to be very satisfying—just look for the big white tent. It will be a terrific post race party with Smuttynose brew and a good feed! And if the race festivities at the park are not enough, be sure to visit the After-After race party at two locations on Main Street: The Riverworks Tavern http://www.theriverworks.com or the American Legion Hall. The “Will Run for Beer” gang knows how to have fun, and LOCO makes sure that fun is available.
Please see the Race Website for details on the course (with course maps), registration information, awards details, FAQ’s, directions and parking, contacts, the medical team, lodging suggestions, post race plans, and more: www.greatbayhalf.com.
Awards and Rewards
The top 3 overall men and women will receive awards in both races. The half marathon will have 5-year age groups and the 5K will have 10 year age groups. Look for the Red Tent with the Awards Banner on it. You must be present to receive your award (awards will NOT be mailed out). The post race food and cold beer, live music and fun atmosphere will reward everyone's workout.
As noted, all registered runners in the half marathon will receive a tech-shirt and finishers get a beautiful medal; but the real reward is simply running this fabulous course.
Runners in the 5K will experience a big time event with only a portion of the effort and get a custom T-shirt.
The Course--13.1 Miles of History and Scenic Beauty
The course is beautiful, especially April 6 when the entire Great Bay region explodes into buds and blossoms. Much of the course for the half marathon will be rural roads bordering farms, fields and forests along conservation land and the great estuary. Great Bay is the largest estuary on the east coast and the views are spectacular. You will love running along these roads—enjoyable, inspiring, and comfortable.
The first two miles and last mile are in the historic town of Newmarket. The rest is along forested roads or immediately adjacent to Great Bay, through wildlife refuges and conservation areas with gorgeous views. There are a few hills on the course--small hills, but challenging. The highest point in the entire town is 281 feet and only half that along the course; still, there are some testers. Challenging hills are small and climbs short, but the rolls have become part of the allure. This is an intriguing route through serene forest and Great Bay shoreline. Ancient stone walls line miles of these roads as they have since colonial days.
The half marathon course is USATF-certified. Runners will start in the center of town. The first two miles loop through town before heading out into rural Durham and a gorgeous clockwise loop. Elm Street intersects North Main just south of the Lamprey River, and the bridge carries runners over the river and above the Lamprey Falls, which powered the entire mill complex. The Beyond the Rainbow 5K starts with the half marathon and enjoys the first 2.5 miles with the half before turning back to town and recrossing the river for the downtown, Main Street finish.
Just beyond the river, the half marathon course turns right on Dame Road, a quiet, scenic, forest-lined country lane. Dame Road crosses the town line into Durham at about three miles, and shortly thereafter the road turns from asphalt to hard packed dirt and gravel.
This section is terrific. It runs along a nature sanctuary, with pine trees dominating at first, and then several miles lined with majestic hemlock groves; the sweeping evergreens contrast with the mixed hardwoods. This is an wildlife habitat, with vernal pools and marshes visible among the trees. Granite outcroppings stand like monuments among the evergreens, and the road is lined with those famous stone walls that appear to be undisturbed since Newmarket was founded in 1727.
It is quiet and peaceful, with just enough roll to be invigorating—some would say challenging. Dame Road intersects Bay Road just before the six-mile mark. A right turn on Bay Road takes runners southwest and parallel to the Great Bay shoreline. Just after turning on Bay Road, the course passes the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory (Adams Point Road), followed by a nice little hill at 6.5. Another hill around mile seven provides a terrific panoramic view of Great Bay. Bay Road is also lined with stone walls, with open fields for views—especially rewarding on those steep rises.
The course passes the Lubberland Creek Nature Conservancy area. There are many trails for running and hiking in this area, and you will want to return to explore. The Great Bay Office of the Nature Conservancy is on the left at 9 miles.
At 9.8 miles the course turns left on Cushing Road for a flat, quiet out-and-back on Moody Point; this totals 2.3 miles through a beautiful shoreline development. When runners return to Bay Road they will be just beyond 12 miles with the bridge and North Main Street, the river, and the mills visible as you approach the triumphant finish on a completely closed downtown thoroughfare.
Be a Part of the Eighth Annual Great Bay Half Marathon
In Great Bay LOCO presents a jewel for the running community. And after eight years they keep working to make it better and better. This one is for everyone from the swiftest to the back of the pack runners in both events. Think spring, and sign up for an outstanding running experience—either the Great Bay Half Marathon or Beyond the Rainbow 5K. Don't delay; they have a history of selling out—as do nearly all LOCO races from 5K to marathon. This is your chance, but please do not plan on race day registration. Do it now! Get ready to experience a great run along Great Bay. We will see you there.