Championship USATF 12K, and Outstanding 5K--Events for All Levels in Bedford, New Hampshire
With small town charm and big time competition, terrific organization and a championship atmosphere, the Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Race 12K and 5K can’t miss.
Posted Monday, 4 April, 2005
The 31st Bedford Rotary Memorial Road Race 12K will be the USATF Championship of New England, a New England Grand Prix event, and the place to be in the Northeast. The accompanying 5K will make for a terrific family day. Between these two outstanding and complimentary events there will be a race for everyone, from the slowest beginner to elite international stars.
If you have run the Bedford Rotary Memorial races, you will definitely want to return for the 31st annual events. If not, you are in for a terrific experience. The best in the US and the USATF-New England Clubs will race the 12K at 9:00 a.m. Then the 5K steps off at 10:45 a.m. with every possible pace and ability represented. These Memorial races will be all-inclusive in the largest sense. These are events you will not want to miss, Saturday, May 21, 2005.
In addition to being a championship event with outstanding teams hammering it out in the 12K, there will be opportunities for every member of the family to participate in the team competition in the 5K, a very innovative concept. The 5K team competition is age and gender graded, so literally all can compete in an equal running field.
Teams from families, schools, companies, organizations, clubs, friends, neighborhoods, social clubs, non-profits, retail organizations, and others will compete. Only four members are needed to score (unlimited number can enter, top 4 times are scored and at least one must be female). Entries must simply be identified with a team name on the entry.
Envision families with grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, and the kids trekking around the clockwise loop and then seeing their family name on Cool Running in results. Imagine friends inventing innovative and humorous names (perhaps related to their post race party plans) to get greater enjoyment from their outing or fitness run. Youth organizations, clubs, and leagues, all can have a ball; and companies, non-profits, and retailers can show their colors—and build morale (and get their name on Cool Running too). The possibilities are endless. This is a great opportunity.
The setting is McKelvie School in historic, convenient Bedford, with courses that are mostly wooded and all scenic. It will be a beautiful time of year in southern New Hampshire, with the blossoms, leaves, and the flowers of spring adding to the scenic beauty of these racecourses. Both races are open to any competitor--club or individual--local runners, New England competitors, and those from around the United States and Canada.
Bedford is easy to get to, just southwest of Manchester, New Hampshire, near the intersections of Interstate 293, the Everett Turnpike, and Route 101. The race is only four miles from Manchester’s convenient regional airport with an impressive array of flights, carriers, and hotels to choose from.
Championship Field, Great Course
Hundreds of teams from at least 50 New England Clubs will focus on the fast Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, the USATF New England Championship. It will be the second of seven races in the USATF-NE Grand Prix series; the fifth time this event has won that honor since 1999. A very competitive field is expected, as with the previous four championships held here.
The unusual 12K course negotiates a figure eight double loop that has produced at least six national records. The 5K is also a clockwise loop, also very flat, and has its share of some excellent times. Both courses are painstakingly USATF certified for very accurate times. Granite State Race Services will provide ChampionChip timing for the 12K grand prix event (finish line only), and use standard timing for the 5K; for both there will be fast and accurate results.
The 12K is a great course. The top of the figure eight begins on Gault Road ¼ mile from McKelvie School, and runs a clockwise loop past the school at 2.4 miles—ideal for spectators, including those waiting for the 5K. The course heads south on Liberty Hill Road, and, yes, there is a small incline from about three miles to 3.5. But you get that back, and then some, with a screaming fourth mile and a turn on Meadow Road, a scenic dirt road with an over-hanging forest canopy and farm fields, and the lowest point on the course.
Mile five is just beyond the right turn north on Wallace Road, with a following right on Nashua Road along some beautiful historic homes and farms. A right turn on County Road takes the field back to McKelvie School on a zipping fast, flat, straight line to the finish at 7.43 miles. The 5K is an expanded route of the 12K top loop, using the same finish area.
Local vendors and volunteers have made post race refreshments for these events into a famous and highly anticipated food fest, and terrific sponsorship provides for excellent prizes. The awards presentations mirror the overall outstanding organization of the events.
Grand Prix and USATF New England
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 20). New England Running Clubs will compete for individual and team points and make for a colorful and competitive championship atmosphere.
The other races in this outstanding, nationally recognized series include the Rhody 5K, Lincoln, Rhode Island (June 5), the Whirlaway 10K, Methuen, Massachusetts (June 26), the Stowe 8 Miler, Stow Vermont (July 17), the Ollie Five Miler, South Boston, Massachusetts (October 2), and the Cape Cod Marathon, Falmouth, Massachusetts (October 30). Only seven races out of thousands in New England are chosen for this series, and the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K has been selected five times.
The New England Association of the USATF is one of the most highly respected of the many across the nation, under the leadership of Executive Director Steve Viatones. They have innovative training and certification programs, an on-line newsletter, and a unique Mountain Running Circuit with six great events, along with much, much more. Visit the Website www.usatfne.org for more information on how to join, and be sure to register for your club to score for the Grand Prix and the Mountain Circuit.
Challenge Series, Open Roads
The Bedford Rotary races are included in the first ever Union Leader Open Roads Challenge, teaming with two other New Hampshire events for the trifecta. The first was the annual Millennium Mile in Londonderry, and the third will be the Union Leader Classic 8K on September 10 in Manchester. Runners who complete all three events (either the 12K or 5K qualify) will be awarded an Open Roads Sweatshirt. You must enter and notify to qualify.
National Records, Course Records
There were two national age group records set at last year’s race. Bill Spencer of Litchfield, New Hampshire, set a national 12K record for age 68. Spencer galloped to 50:45. John Barbour of Gloucester, Massachusetts, set a new national record for age 50, zipping to a phenomenal 41:19. Spencer also owns several state age group records on this course, and he should know. For years he has kept the age group records for New Hampshire, and has been a Junior Olympics coach, including national championship teams.
Is this a fast course? There have been at least six national records set in this race. In 1999 an outstanding senior runner, Barbara Robinson of Franconia, New Hampshire set a national record for 12K of 59:19 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.
John Mortimer of nearby Goffstown, New Hampshire, and distance Coach at Boston College, set a new 12K course record in last year’s race (36:36). He ran a 4:55 pace and shaved 12 seconds from Mark Donahue’s 36:48, set in 2000. Diana Bowser (43:38, 2000) holds the 12K women’s course record. David Hinga (14:58, 2000) and Kelly Keane (17:26, 2002) set the 5K records.
Great List of Awards, Cash and Trophies
This race provides many, many awards—cash and handsome trophies. There will be 24 age divisions in each race based on five-year age groups, plus Clydesdale and Fillie awards (cash awards for division winners in both races). There will be overall winners’ awards of cash, trophies, and merchandise.
Cash awards and trophies (individual) are deep and across four divisions in both races. There are cash prizes for the overall top three open runners, and top two masters, seniors, and veterans—women and men, both races.
Team awards for the 12K (USATF Teams) also include cash and trophies, including the top three open, and top two masters, seniors, and veterans’ teams, women and men. In the 5K teams (school, company, organization, club, friends, family, neighborhood, other) receive trophies going three deep. All are mixed teams (minimum one female, total of four scoring), and are automatically age and gender graded.
In other words, when you include the raffle, colorful, well-designed t-shirts, the individual prizes, team awards, the scenic courses, and post race amenities; everyone will be a winner.
Bedford Rotary, Rotary International
Rotary Clubs, especially in New England, have become more and more involved in road race direction and promotion as a means of sustaining their charitable causes. Bedford Rotary was one of the first to become involved in road racing.
The Bedford Rotary Memorial Race was founded in 1969 as a three-mile run/walk for the benefit of the McKelvie School Parent Teacher Group. The 8-miler and 3-miler were replaced with the 12K and 5K when the Rotary Club took the reins in 1991.
The Bedford Rotary has expanded the events in their 15-year ownership from a small local race to a major New England and northeastern event, drawing over 1,000 participants. Bill Gere and Brian Moyer, members of the Bedford Rotary Club, are Race Co-Directors. They pay attention to detail, with a team of first-class volunteers. The Bedford Rotary can be very proud of a great pair of events for runners of all paces and abilities.
Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that specializes in humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations. They are 1.2 million strong, and are represented in 166 countries with 31,000 clubs on six continents. Since their founding in 1905 (the world’s first service club), they have been dedicated to world peace and to helping those in need. They were involved in the formation of the United Nations, and remain dedicated to that body today, especially in their support of UNESCO. The name Rotary came from the early practice of “rotating” meetings between homes and offices of the few members. This past February Rotary celebrated their centennial.
The greatest winners are the Rotary International Charities. Rotary International has so far pledged $500 million to eradicate polio. This dread disease exists now in only 10 countries—they have made phenomenal progress. Locally the Bedford Rotary provides many charitable gifts, including scholarships.
[b}Be Part of It—Be in Bedford[/b]
The Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K and associated 5K will draw hundreds of local and regional participants. The have innovative team competition. Both races provide excellent amenities, cash and trophies in many divisions, along with terrific post race food. They have an excellent raffle open to all, and you know every cent will go to the outstanding charities supported by Rotary.
Most of all, however, these races are really enjoyable. There is a feeling of comfort with highly planned, well-organized events, and the courses will make for pleasant running—every mile, every moment. But you can’t be a part of it unless you sign up, and go. Enjoy them. Well done!