New Marathon Debuts on May 17, Nashua, New Hampshire, and there Will be an Accompanying Relay Road Race
All the great, iconic races in New England have a beginning, and this will be the first annual Gate City Marathon and Marathon Relay. Running in five different loops within the City of Nashua, this will be a welcome addition as a spring marathon for the region, and a USATF-certified Boston qualifier. It will become a New England tradition for both the Marathon and the Marathon Relay—2, 3, 4 or 5-person teams. This is it!
Posted Saturday, 21 March, 2015
On Sunday, May 17, a portion of Nashua’s downtown Main Street will be completely closed for the duration of the Marathon, and it will be the central location with the start, finish, and all four relay points right on Main Street, center of the five-loop course. This will be a runners’ and spectators’ delight as runners speed into and out of downtown with different loops that explore most areas and neighborhoods of the city.
It will be a terrific new event with many amenities consistent with the high quality races put on by the Gate City Striders over many years. The 31-year reign of the Applefest Half Marathon always drew high praise as one of the best in New England. Their Harvard Pilgrim Corporate 5K is another example of the excellent events developed and administered by the Gate City Striders, one of the largest and most active running clubs in New England. They recently captured their seventh consecutive Mill Cities Relay Championship, which also has its start in Nashua.
The Marathon and five-leg relay has the full cooperation of the mayor’s office, police and fire departments, public works, and many Nashua citizens in general. It will be the pride of the Gate City Striders who created and administer this event. Gate City Striders, founded in 1979, became a powerful force in New England Running and remains so today. Runners will enjoy the relatively flat and varied course and outstanding, innovative amenities.
The individual Marathon and all Relay Teams will have a simultaneous start at 8:00 a.m. on Main Street, which will be closed from East/West Hollis to Pearl Street, providing two full city blocks for the festivities. Main Street will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
If you are among the first 250 to register, you will receive a pint glass with the new race logo in addition to the shirt. All runners, full marathon and relay runners alike, will receive custom technical shirts, and all participants will receive finisher medals—beautifully designed medals for the marathon and for the relay by Ashworth Awards, a Massachusetts company and the best in the business.
Registration will be online only, with early registration fees effective from now until March 31, 2015, when the price will increase through May 15. Race day registration may be available (if not sold out), but will cost an additional $15.
There will be early packet and T-shirt pick-up available on Saturday, May 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports, 4 Coliseum Avenue, Nashua; and pick up will be available on race day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 near the race starting line.
This will be a celebration of running in New England—a race organized by runners for runners—all Gate City volunteers. It is a celebration of the spring racing season, and the course will show the wonderful diversity of the city—there are no long out-and-back sections.
Be a part of the first one, and you will make history if you are fortunate enough to be included.
The famous B-tag computer timing chip, built in to the race bib number, will be provided by Yankee Timing Company--and you can keep the custom number/chip as a souvenir—the first annual. Also, the Gate City Marathon and Relay will strive to be one of the Greenest races in New England, as they work with many initiatives aimed at recycling with less overall environmental impact.
Five Different Loops, Varied Course
The course is essentially shaped like a four leaf clover--where the first and last loop are much the same. The first loop is 5.4 miles, dashing into Nashua’s North end with the beautiful Victorian homes and Greely Park along the way. It includes Concord Street and portions of Manchester Street and ends, as all five loops do, at the exchange point on Main Street.
The second loop is 5.0 miles and tours the southwest and south portions of the city, primarily neighborhoods including Lund Road and East Dunstable.
The third loop heads west and includes a section through Lincoln Park and Mine Falls Park, passing Nashua High School South. It is the longest leg at 6.0 miles.
The fourth heads to the south for the shortest section at 4.4 miles with a clockwise loop near Rivier University and the Nashua Country Club. And the final leg is 5.4 miles, essentially repeating the first loop, but in reverse.
There will be water, Gatorade and gel packs on each loop near its halfway point, and the primary aid station will be near the relay point, available each of the four times through. And there will be digital clocks at the finish and at the relay points.
The race is very spectator-friendly, thanks to the loop format. Family and friends have views at start, finish, 5.4 miles, and 10.4, 16.4 miles, 20.8 and the finish, all within easy walking distance on Main Street.
Teams of all sizes will find logistics very, very easy—no buses to remote locations—as all relay handoffs are in the exact same location.
There will be twelve divisions of teams: first they are divided into 2-3 person teams or 4-5 person teams for purposes of scoring. Within these two categories there are age groups: 12-39, 40-59, and 60+; and there are gender divisions, female, coed, and male. Age is determined by the youngest member on the team. Coed 2-3 person teams must include at least one female; 4-5 person teams must have two females.
Participants are always impressed with the tremendous number and quality of awards at Gate City events, including beautiful commemorative medals for all finishers. The top three in the marathon, women and men, will receive special awards. And there will be 10-year age groups with the first place finisher in each taking home a special prize. All prize winners also receive beautiful medals. There are 10-year age groups for the Marathon beginning with 18-29 through 70 plus.
There are awards for the top three teams in each of the 12 divisions—36 in all: women’s 2-3 person teams—open, masters, seniors; men’s 2-3 person teams open, masters, seniors; and the same for all six 4-5 person team divisions.
Post Race Food and Refreshments—Lots of Goodies and Music Too
Runners will experience a feast at the inaugural Marathon and Relay. The Gate City Striders take great pride in their post race party, providing music and a variety of foods—all free for runners of course. They will have great volunteers--parking, water stops, food tent, course, registration, and all other aspects—they have a higher ratio of volunteers to runners than most any other race.
Organization is first class. Experience in both racing and race management, and the willingness to go the extra mile, will get this event off to a rousing start, just as Applefest was in the forefront for 31 years. Innovation and hard work will show, along with the remarkable ability to treat runners of all ability levels as elite stars—indeed each runner is a guest of the Striders and the community. This will keep runners coming back year after year. Too bad Applefest had to end, but here we are with a new beginning.
Don’t Miss Out on a First Classic
This is a gem of the Granite State and they will work very hard to make the first and every year the best it can be, to offer each runner the most enjoyable racing experience. Innovation, experience and dedication--that is what you get with the Gate City Marathon and Relay. Put May 17, Nashua on your 2015 racing calendar. Be a part of this inaugural classic!