The Hollis Fast 5K – Experience the Fastest Course in New England
It is blazing fast, and fun! This race has it all with an opportunity to run your personal best on a scenic, all downhill course in beautiful Hollis, New Hampshire. It is well organized with dedicated race management and great awards and amenities. And, as it was in 2013, it will again be the USATF-New England Championship, one of the seven chosen races that make up the USATF New England Grand Prix. It is the fourth event of the Grand Prix, and one of the USA’s fastest 5K’s—definitely one you should not miss.
Posted Friday, 27 March, 2015
The Hollis Fast 5K is a race everyone should experience. Hundreds and hundreds of runners over the years have sped to 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 11, the 11th annual will run at 6:30 p.m. on a speedy downhill, point-to-point, scenic and serene course.
It is simply one of the best 5K’s, zipping through the quaint Monument Square in Hollis and running adjacent to the fields, farms and orchards of small-town New Hampshire. The course drops steadily but imperceptibly from start to finish, so it offers a gradual downhill grade to enhance your opportunity for a fast time. You can check the course map and elevation chart on the website.
It will be the New England 5K Championship for individuals and teams, the fourth event in the seven-race USATF-NE Grand Prix. It runs a wonderful route through this historic, rural and famous “Apple Country” town just west of Nashua; and it’s easy to get to.
In 2007 Nate Jenkins won the race in 13 minutes, 47 seconds, then the fastest 5K ever in New Hampshire, though it was not USATF-certified at the time. In 2013, however, Timothy Ritchie matched Jenkins’ time on the certified course, setting the record and establishing the best New Hampshire time. He had a lot of competition: four guys ran under 14:00 that evening, and 22 under 15:00. In the same year Erica Jessman set the women’s course record at 15:31; three women ran under 16:00 in that race and ten under 17:00. Check out past results on the race website at www.hollisfast5k.com.
This race is presented and hosted by the Hollis-Brookline Rotary Club and directed by George LeCours, a Rotarian Club and member of the Gate City Striders running club. Originally a five-mile loop (for 8 years), the race underwent an overhaul in 2005 and was established on the current point-to-point; there’s history here.
With an unusual week night date, an all downhill course, and B-Tag chip timing by Yankee Timing Company, the race has attracted hundreds and has grown each year. This year they expect to reach the maximum 1,700 runners. Register early to avoid missing the cut-off. Plus, the first 700 get free commemorative T-shirts. Also consider that the registration fee is only $25.00, but goes up $5.00 after February 15, then to $35.00 on April 19. The youth fee (17 and under) is $18.00 ($20.00 after April 19). Registration closes on June 9 and there is no race day sign up, so just get it done.
Walkers are welcome. This race is especially amenable to beginners, becoming locally famous for the Couch to 5K (C25K) beginner programs available with the Gate City Striders serving the Manchester-Nashua-Lowell Merrimack Valley corridor. If you want to start running, that’s the way to do so. LeCours also coaches the Couch to 5K program.
They offer more awards than any race in New England. With 38 age groups—that’s two-year age groups and six divisions for kids, and 5-year age groups for adults through 80+. 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-crafted 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 (listed on the website), or the course record if already under the state record, no matter where they are from, will have a free entry for the 2016 race. They have had as many as 73 runners breaking state age records in a single year--a lot of free registrations! As the USATF-New England Grand Prix Championship, this may be another banner year for records.
It has had national recognition. Running Times Magazine listed the Hollis Fast 5K as one of the speediest races in America. It was also written up in the Wall Street Journal as very fast and unique (links on website). And of course it has been written up on Cool Running numerous times.
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 in 2013, fifth overall.
Kids are encouraged to participate. It is the perfect place for a first time 5K runner to get involved with mom and dad. 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.
Logistics for the Point-to-Point
They strongly suggest that runners arrive between 5:00 and 5:15 p.m. There are two options for parking. Buses will take runners to the start from Alpine Grove, 19 South Depot Road, Hollis and nearby Clinton Drive parking lots beginning at 4:30 pm. The last bus leaves both locations at 6:10 p.m., but don’t wait until the last minute. Runners are encouraged to board busses early to prevent delay at the start of the race; or more likely missing the start. Some run the course in reverse as a warm-up, or the reverse as a cool down.
Runners can be dropped off at Monument Square near the start and there will be a bag check there. There will be no shuttle back to the start following the race. There will, however, be a shuttle from Alpine Grove to the Clinton Drive parking lots after the race. Please check out directions on the race website: www.hollisfast5k.com.
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 school and directed to the starting line. The course travels through Monument Square to Depot Road to the finish, located at 301 Depot Road in front of Morin’s Landscaping. They have unique markings—in addition to mile markers they place signs at one mile to go, .75, .50, and .25 to go!
Number Pick up and Awards Ceremony
Save time and hassle and pick up your number and shirt the day before (Wednesday, June 10) at Fleet Feet Sports, 4 Coliseum Avenue in Nashua (Nashua Mall) from Noon to 9:00 p.m. Number Pick up will be open from 3:00 p.m. race day at Alpine Grove, race headquarters. Race day registration is not available this year—you must pre-register.
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.
They 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 the awards table in the Alpine Grove Hall. The results will be posted and age group award winners listed. Award recipients who cannot stay for the ceremony or final posting will have their awards mailed.
USATF-New England Grand Prix
This will be the 31st year of this classic championship series, and it offers some great racing for USATF members, although all runners are welcome in each event. It begins on February 22, 2015 with the Five College Realty 10 Miler in Amherst, MA; it continues with the New Bedford Half on March 15: www.newbedfordhalfmarathon.com . And new this year to the Grand Prix, the Marathon Championship will be run in the spring for the first time with the People’s Bank Vermont City Marathon, running May 24th in Burlington: http://www.vermontcitymarathon.org/ .
The Hollis Fast 5K is fourth, returning after a one year hiatus, running June 11 in Hollis, New Hampshire: www.hollisfast5k.com . Two other events are also new to the USATF New England Grand Prix, although they are well established races—the Bobby Doyle Five Miler runs in Narragansett, Rhode Island on August 9, and the Seasons 20K set in Acton, Massachusetts on September 6, 2015. The series closes with the 9th annual Lone Gull 10K on September 20 in Gloucester, MA.
Officials will be at the registration venue to sign runners up for USATF-NE, making them eligible for participation and scoring in the Championship and Grand Prix. Everyone should join the USATF, especially if running races regularly. The USATF-NE Grand Prix is one of the most highly rated such series in the nation, with quality events and excellent organization at each race with variation in distance and landscape. Please visit http://www.usatfne.org/road/gp.html .
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. They provide scholarships and donate 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
This event gives you the best chance of any race for a 5K personal record. Don’t delay—you will want one of those commemorative shirts. The Hollis Fast 5K has become very popular and will likely sell out since they can only take 1,700. Just get it done. Register now and set those goals for late spring and summer. This is the one!
This race has it all -- an opportunity to run your personal best, a scenic downhill course in beautiful Hollis, New Hampshire, and 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.
For more information about the Hollis Fast 5K e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.hollisfast5k.com. For more information on the USATF-NE series go to http://www.usatfne.org/road/gp.html.