30th Annual Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K Hosts USATF Championship, And Has A Terrific 5K Too
The 30th Annual Bedford Memorial Road Race 12K will be the focus of New England and the Northeast as the USATF 12K Championship, the second race in the New England Grand Prix. Their 5K is one of the most popular of local races with amenities galore.
Posted Monday, 12 April, 2004
Hundreds of teams from at least 50 New England Clubs will focus on Bedford, New Hampshire and the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, the USATF New England Championship. This outstanding event will blast off on Saturday, May 22, in quaint, historic Bedford, New Hampshire. It will be the second of seven races in the USATF-NE Grand Prix series; the fourth time the event has won that honor since 1999. The associated 5K will draw hundreds of local and regional participants, as it has for 30 years. Both races provide excellent amenities—cash and trophies in many divisions, an excellent raffle open to all, and great post race refreshments.
The setting is McKelvie School in historic Bedford, with courses that are mostly wooded and scenic. It will be a beautiful time of year in southern New Hampshire, with the explosion of spring adding to the scenic beauty of these racecourses. Both races are open to any competitor, whether club or individual, from the local area, New England, from around the nation, or Canada—and this event is worth the trip.
The unusual 12K is a mostly flat and fast figure eight course that has produced at least four national records. The 5K is a counter clockwise loop, also very flat, which has manufactured some excellent times. Both courses are newly re-certified for the venerable 30th running of this dual event. Both races provide team competition, with the 12K taking on the USATF clubs and traditional divisions. The 5K is open to all teams, including schools, clubs, companies, social organizations, and corporations with unlimited numbers of team members (four score). Team competition in the 5K is age and gender graded to provide a wide-open and unusual challenge.
Bill Gere and Brian Moyer, members of the Bedford Rotary Club, are Co-Directors for the event, and it is a labor of love for both. It shows. They pay attention to detail, and lead a team of first-class volunteers in putting on a great pair of events for runners of all paces and abilities. Gere jumped into the race as director shortly after the Rotary club revived the event in 1991, and Moyer, an experienced race director from California (he directed a 50K for the child crib safety group, the Danny Foundation) joined the cause in 1995 when he became a Bedford Rotarian. The results have been remarkable, as recognized by the USATF, New England Runner, and, of course, any participant who has ever run these races.
The race was founded in 1969 by the McKelvie School track coach, Peter McGee. It was then a three-mile run/walk and a way for the kids and parents to get some exercise. It was run by and for the benefit of the school Parent Teacher Group. The race increased in popularity and became a regional focus when the eight miler was added. The PTG sponsored the races until 1989 when their major sponsored pulled out. Bob Tescheck of Granite State Race Services, the timer of the race, suggested a certified 12K and 5K to replace the 8 miler and 3 miler when the Rotary Club took the reins. And so it is.
The Bedford Rotary sensed the community’s need to revive and perpetuate the races and has sponsored and organized them since 1991. The Bedford Rotary has expanded the events in their 14-year run from a local race to a major New England and northeastern event, drawing 1,000 or more and providing $4,000 in cash prizes. Local vendors and volunteers have made post race refreshments into a food fest, and terrific sponsorship provides for a great raffle.
The Bedford 12K will be the second race in the highly competitive USATF Grand Prix. This 12K championship follows the New Bedford, Massachusetts Half Marathon (March 21). More than 50 New England Running Clubs will compete for individual and team points and make for a colorful championship atmosphere. The other races in this outstanding, nationally recognized series include the Rhody 5K, Lincoln, Rhode Island (June 13), the Whirlaway 10K, Methuen, Massachusetts (June 27), the Stowe 8 Miler, Stow Vermont (July 18), the Ollie Five Miler, South Boston, Massachusetts (October 3), and the Cape Cod Marathon, Falmouth, Massachusetts (October 31). Only seven races out of thousands in New England are chosen for this series, and the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K has been selected four times.
Records and Going National
Diana Bowser (43:38, 2000) and Mark Donahue (36:48, 2000) hold the 12K course records.
The 5K records were set by David Hinga (14:58, 2000) and Kelly Keane (17:26, 2002).
In 1999 an outstanding senior runner, Barbara Robinson of Franconia, New Hampshire set a national record on the 12K course for age group 65 to 69. In 2001 Jordon McDougal of Peru, New York set a 16-and-under national record at 40:11 in the 12K. He returned in 2002 at age 16 to break his own standard at 39:00. His brother Joshua set the 14-and-under national mark in the same race (40:16), while younger brother Andrew just missed a national record for age 10 and under with a 45:49. Their father, mother, and younger sister also are accomplished runners, and the family has been invited back.
Awards and Rewards
This is a race that rewards the field. There will be 1st place M/F age group awards with categories based on three to ten-year groupings—12 age divisions overall from under 8 to 66-69, 70-75 and 75+ in each race--added to the overall winners prizes of cash, trophies, and merchandise. In addition to the age group awards, there are awards for the open, masters, seniors, and veterans categories. USATF-NE team awards for the 12K also include cash and trophies, and overall open, masters, senior, and veteran divisions. In the 5K non-USATF teams receive trophies going three deep in the open division, with first place trophies for masters, seniors, and veterans. There are also Clydesdale and Fillie awards (including cash for first place) in both races.
In other words, when you include the raffle (buy tix at the race! $1=2 tix), colorful, well-designed t-shirts, the prolific prizes, the scenic courses, and post race amenities; everyone at these races will be a winner.
If you have run the Bedford Rotary Memorial races, you will definitely want to return for this, the 30th annual event. If you have never tried these events, you are in for a terrific experience. In fact, if you’re up to the challenge, and many are, you can race the 12K at 9:00 a.m., and then speed through the 5K at 10:45. These Memorial races will be memorable ones. It is an event you will not want to miss, May 22, 2004.