LOCO-New England's Newest Marathon, with Half Marathon—a Different Race with a Unique Setting on New Hampshire's Seacoast
The LOCO Marathon and Half Marathon: Not only is it the newest, it is also the only marathon besides Boston that has qualifying standards. It runs on Sunday, October 26, and is specifically designed for Boston Marathon qualification! Race headquarters is the classic Rockingham Ballroom in Newmarket, New Hampshire. Run terrific rural loops with seven miles on the beautiful Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail.
Posted Friday, 17 October, 2014
It is the ultimate Boston qualifier! The remarkable new LOCO Marathon and Half Marathon are built for those runners looking to up their game. The marathon is run on a beautiful two-loop course and has strict qualifying standards. The half marathon runs one loop and has no qualifying standards but does have a 2 hour, 30 minute time limit. Both have a reasonable field cap, and both have all the perks you have come to expect from LOCO Sports.
This is the first time the beautiful Rockingham Ballroom has hosted a road race, though they host many other events. And it is a gorgeous setting.
All registered participants will be awarded a commemorative wicking race T-shirt. All marathon finishers will receive a beautiful and unique commemorative medallion made of Vermont Maple, just the coolest finisher's medal. Awards will be given to the top overall finishers and top three in each of 10-year age groups. Note: neither T-shirts nor awards will be mailed—they must be picked up in person on race day.
Yes, this one is brought to you by LOCO Sports, those folks who have brought you so many outstanding events in New England, including the famous Rockfest Half Marathon, the Great Bay Half Marathon, the enjoyable Will-Run-for-Beer series, and so many more.
Qualifying Standards for the LOCO Marathon
To enter you must have completed an official certified Half or Full marathon within the listed finish time standards. This time may have been run within a two year period from January 1, 2012. Again, run a half or full marathon on a certified course within those listed times ranging from 4:05 (open) for women up to 5:55; or 1:48 half (open) up to 2:42. For men it is 3:35 (open) to 5:25, or a half marathon 1:33 to 2:28 in five-year increments. Please see the race website for the specific time applicable for your entry: LOCO Marathon Website. The LOCO Half Marathon time limit is 2:30.
All the Right Ingredients for Boston Qualification and a PR Race
This one has all the necessary support and planning to provide a PR, and for many in the field, a qualification time. Here’s why:
The course is outstanding and mostly flat, but has just enough roll to be interesting and to keep the legs fresh throughout. The field in each event will be limited to 500, a reasonable number, so you will never feel crowded start to finish.
The field, however, will be faster than a normal marathon because of the qualifying time, thus lending support to your faster PR and/or Boston qualifying time. Give this one your best effort and feel the support of others who have the same goal and quest for pace in mind. To further assist, they will have pace groups with experienced marathoners heading each section to keep you on track.
Both races start at 7:30 a.m., and there is a bag check.
Though the course seems remote and comfortably isolated in a rural setting, the venue is easy to get to. It is just off Route 108, close to limited access Route 101, and only about 9 miles off Interstate 95.
The average weather is perfectly conducive to a great PR. The average high on October 26 in Newmarket is 58, with a low of 35—the mean is 47. (The record high was 82 degrees in 1963.) Sunrise and sunset will be at 7:11 a.m. and 5:44 p.m. The long range forecast as of this writing is for near average temperatures and for sunshine to be filtering through the gorgeous foliage.
This is a qualifying course if ever there was one. The marathon is a two-loop counter-clockwise sprint through four New Hampshire Seacoast towns—Newmarket, Epping, Lee, and Newfields. There is only about 100 feet of elevation change over the 13.1-mile circuit, and twice runners experience a soft and lovely rail trail—you won’t believe the beauty of this section in late October, though the entire course will be an explosion of color! The balance is on mostly rural, and predominantly isolated, roadways through forest and farmland.
Both races start at the Rockingham Ballroom and the course traverses Ash Swamp Road, Wadleigh Falls Road, Campground Road, Camp Lee Road, Jacobs Well Road, Grant Road, Bald Hill Road (the hill is well to the side of the road), a brief stint on Route 87, and 3.5 miles on the fantastic rail trail. The marathon traverses this loop twice for double the beauty.
That rail trail makes up the last 3.5-miles of the first loop (and the final 3.5 for the half). It provides a comfortable final stretch for marathoners. And it is flat and fast for that triumphant finishing kick—locomotives didn’t do hills.
They have excellent course management and support along the way with water and Gatorade about every two miles, ten stations in all, and two stations with helpful gel packs. Check out the outstanding course with a very good map on the race website: LOCO Marathon Website.
Post Race Party—Great Venue
The post race celebration will be at the classic Rockingham Ballroom, a grand facility where the race begins and ends. It is located at 22 Ash Swamp Road, Newmarket, NH 03857. It sits adjacent to a beautifully landscaped golf course, and is just off the beaten path. Post race will include a catered feast with Smuttynose beer available for all participants. You can include family and friends for a nominal fee.
The Rockingham Ballroom, headed by Alan Roma, was built in 1939 during the big band era. They have over 3,000 feet of open maple floor space in a park-like setting. It hosts a variety of live bands with a diverse musical background, and they offer several types of dancing and dance lessons. As noted, they host a wide range of events: Rockingham Ballroom Website
The Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail, Portsmouth Branch
It is a 25.3-mile multi-use recreational trail that runs from Page Street in Manchester, NH to Ash Swamp Road in Newfields, NH. It is unpaved but has excellent footing and good drainage and is a tremendous resource for southeastern New Hampshire. There is also a Freemont Branch, which runs from Depot Road in Windham, through Derry and Londonderry to Route 125 in Epping. Both branches are maintained by the New Hampshire Department of Parks and Recreation. Rockingham Rail Trail
Get in on the Inaugural--the Place to Be
New races, especially marathons, are wonderful for the sport and a big advantage for participants. They can experience an event with standards and outstanding presentation and leadership. Get in on the historic inaugural, the first ever! They have standards but welcome those who may be trying to qualify for Boston for the first time; walkers are not welcome for this one.
This is truly an event and location not to miss, so register now. It is really exciting, especially when you know it is bound to be a true classic on the New England running calendar this year and beyond.
The LOCO Marathon and Half Marathon have all the ingredients to be a classic and a qualifier, and will run at the historic Rockingham Ballroom in Newmarket. Be there and see what all the buzz is about. For more information and registration please go to: LOCO Marathon Website.