The Tenth Annual Hollis Fast 5K – Experience the Fastest Course in New England
This race has it all -- an opportunity to run your personal best time, a scenic all downhill course in beautiful Hollis, New Hampshire with well organized race management. And more prizes than you will see elsewhere. Beat the single age New Hampshire record and run for free! National publications have raved about it, and runners have come from all over the country and beyond. Now it’s your turn.
Posted Thursday, 29 May, 2014
The Hollis Fast 5K is a race everyone should experience. So many runners-hundreds and hundreds over the years—have run their personal best on this 5K course, which drops 224 feet start to finish. It’s fun and exhilarating. And it is USATF-certified.
On Thursday, June 12, the 10th annual Hollis Fast 5K will be run at 6:30 p.m. on a blazing fast, downhill, point-to-point, scenic and serene course. It is simply one of the best 5K races, speeding through the quaint Hollis Monument Square, adjacent to the fields and farms and orchards of small-town New Hampshire. The course drops mostly imperceptibly from start to finish. It offers a gradual downhill grade to enhance your opportunity for a fast time.
This race is presented and hosted by the Hollis-Brookline Rotary Club and directed by George LeCours, a member of the sponsoring Club and the Gate City Striders running club. Originally a five-mile loop course, the race underwent an overhaul in 2005; there’s a lot of history.
With an unusual week night date, an all downhill course, and B-Tag chip timing, the race has attracted hundreds and has grown each year. This year they expect to reach the maximum of 1,700 runners. Register early to avoid missing the cut-off. Plus, the first 800 get free commemorative T-shirts; and the next 200 a nice logoed running hat.
Also consider that the registration fee goes up $5.00 after April 13, and the youth fee increases $3.00 on that date. Adults have another fee increase in May so just get it done.
Walkers are welcome. And this race is especially amenable to beginner runners, becoming locally famous for the Couch to 5K (C25K) beginner programs available with the Gate City Striders.
Awards are plentiful. They offer more awards than any race in New England. With 36 total age groups—that’s two-year age groups and six divisions for kids, and 5-year age groups for adults through 75+. There are awards for the top three women and men and also the top three in each of those age groups. That’s well over 100 awards. A high percentage of school age runners are award winners. Awards are comprised of distinctive hand-made apple trophies for first prize and handsome logo medals for second and third place winners.
This is a PR course if ever there was one. Anyone who beats the single age New Hampshire state record, no matter where they are from, will have a free entry for the 2015 race. There were an incredible 73 runners breaking records last year—itself a record and a lot of free registrations! The race was the USATF-New England Grand Prix Championship in 2013.
Many races offer flat and fast courses, but this is a cut above—or rather a cut downhill. As noted, the course has a net elevation loss of 224 feet. Erica Jesseman set a new women’s course record last year at 15:31. Tim Ritchie set the official certified course men’s record at 13:48 to win the USATF New England Grand Prix Championship. Nate Jenkins ran a 13:47 in 2007, but the course was not officially certified at the time. In 2013 the top four guys were under 14:00 and top 22 under 15:00. The top three women were under 16:00 with top 10 under 17:00.
Kara Hass of Chelmsford, Massachusetts is the only women to win multiple times, taking the inaugural in 2005 (16:51), followed by victories in 2008 (16:33) and 2010 (17:28). She finished with her course best time of 16:30 to win the Women’s Master’s division last year, fifth overall.
Kids are encouraged to participate. It is the perfect place for a first time 5K runner to participate with mom and dad. A reduced entry fee is offered to runners age 17 and under.
Members of youth running programs from the Gate City Striders, Nashua PAL runners and The Granite State Flash have enjoyed the race venue each year. More are expected this year.
Typically the high school track season ends prior to this race. Coaches encourage their team members who are not participating in the New England track meet to “have some fun” on a fast race course. While there is no team competition, runners receiving individual age group awards will be recognized at the awards ceremony if they are affiliated with a team.
Buses will take all runners to the start will begin shuttling runners from Alpine Grove and nearby Clinton Drive parking lots at 4:30 pm. The last bus leaves both locations at 6:10 pm. Runners are encouraged to board busses early to prevent a delay in the start of the race; or more likely missing the start.
Runners can be dropped off at Monument Square near the start. There will be no shuttle back to the start following the race. There will be a shuttle from Alpine Grove to the Clinton Drive parking lots after the race.
The Hollis Police Department manages traffic control with assistance from neighboring departments. Members of the Rotary Club assist the Hollis Police at all intersections along the course. Quality planning and preparations are on display; the pride of the Hollis Brookline Rotary Club is evident in all aspects.
Directions to Alpine Grove Function Facilities
From Route 3 (Everett Turnpike) north or south, take exit 5 West in Nashua. The Nashua Police Department is located ¼ mile after the exit. Go west three miles on Route 111. After entering Hollis, take a left onto Route 111A. Alpine Grove is located ¼ mile on the right.
The starting line is located on Route 122 / Main St. at Love Lane near the Hollis Brookline Middle School. Runners will be bussed to the Hollis Brookline Middle School and will be directed to the starting line. This year’s starting line is wider than last year and has a wide sweeping right turn ¼ mile after the start. The course travels through Monument Square onto Depot Road to the finish line. The finish line has been relocated to Depot Road in front of Morin’s Landscaping.
Number Pick up and Awards Ceremony
Number Pick up will be open from 3:00 p.m. at Alpine Grove, race headquarters. Race day registration is not available this year—you must pre-register. Save time and hassle and pick up your number the day before (Wednesday, June 11) at Runner’s Alley at 4 Coliseum Avenue in Nashua (Nashua Mall) from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m.
The awards ceremony takes place at Alpine Grove Function Facilities in Hollis, just 1/3 mile from the finish beginning at around 8:00 p.m. Water will be available at the finish line. Post race refreshments will be served at Alpine Grove. Runners walk from the finish line to Alpine Grove.
New Awards Format This Year
The race occurs on a school night and considering that there are more than 100 awards, we will award the top three male and the top three female competitors at a formal ceremony. All age group award recipients will receive their awards at our new awards table. The results will be posted and the age group awards winners will pick up awards at that table. Award recipients who cannot stay for the ceremony or final posting will have their awards mailed.
The Town of Hollis
Hollis is living history. In many ways, it has not changed in nearly 300 years. Throughout the village, on every road and lane on adjourning farms, there is a palpable sense of history and tradition. Hollis was settled as a frontier town in 1730, and chartered in 1746. There were 214 residents who served as soldiers in the Revolution—a large number for such a small town.
Hollis has resisted the usual trends toward sprawl and suburban destruction. There are still active, productive farms and orchards and a sense of small town America as it once was, and as it should be—with open space, ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and thoughtful planning.
What is Rotary Club?
The name Rotary came from the early practice of “rotating” meetings between the offices of the few members. Rotary Clubs, especially in New England, have become more and more involved in road race events as a means of fundraising for their charitable causes.
The Hollis Brookline rotary Club is part of Rotary International. The club provides scholarships and donates to charitable causes locally and around the world. Internationally there are 1.3 million members with representation in more than 160 countries with over 30,000 clubs on six continents. Since their founding in 1905 they have been dedicated to world peace and to helping those in need. It was the world’s first service club. They were involved in the formation of the United Nations and remain dedicated to that body today, especially with their support of UNESCO.
Proceeds from the Hollis Fast 5K go to a variety of worthwhile charities. Few organizations can match Rotary for charitable giving and community involvement.
Let’s Go—Train and Set Your PR
A PR is not guaranteed, but this event gives you the best chance of any race for a 5K personal record. Do not delay—you will want one of those commemorative shirts or hats and you don’t want to get shut out. This race has become very popular and will likely sell out since they can only take 1,700. Just get in gear and get it done. Register now and put those goals in place for late spring and summer. This is the one!