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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the new reach the beach relay—exciting, challenging, and different

The New Reach the Beach Relay—Exciting, Challenging, and Different
This tremendously popular relay has a new starting location and many legs have changed; new sponsorship adds a dynamic compliment to the terrific organization, amenities, and extraordinary scenery.

  
The New Reach the Beach Relay—Exciting, Challenging, and Different

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Thursday, 12 April, 2007

The Reach the Beach Relay runs 200 miles in 24 hours through some of the most beautiful regions in North America. Ask anyone who has participated, and they will tell you it packs innumerable memories and camaraderie into those hours. All 36 legs are very different, every exchange an experience, and every transition area an opportunity to meet runners form all over the land. The process of sharing, planning, and supporting each member of your team (and other teams as well) creates a sense of bonding and teamwork not experienced in other races.

The start is new, now at Cannon Mountain in beautiful Franconia Notch, with easy access via Interstate 93 (2.5 hours from Boston). The goal is the same, Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic Coast, just off Interstate 95 (one hour from Boston). You might say it is “Old Man to the Sea”. That’s right, Franconia Notch. Although the “Old Man of the Mountain” is now a memory and part of New England lore, the first legs heading south through the incredibly beautiful Franconia Notch will get the 2007 version off to an impressively scenic start.

Such events need support from committed sponsors and from communities along the course. New Balance of Boston, which has participated form the very beginning of the relay, has signed on as a new sponsor with a long term commitment. Timberland, based in Stratham New Hampshire, and the State of New Hampshire State Parks system—also participating from the very first run—have both expanded their sponsorship support. The Avon Foundation’s Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence program, now a national relay series, is both a sponsor and a beneficiary of Reach the Beach. And City Year, a vitally important national program, is providing help and volunteers. Additionally, the relay has the enthusiastic support of the White Mountain National Forest Park Service and the US Forest Service who have been instrumental in permitting some of the new course changes.

All participants will receive excellent technical shirts, compliments of New Balance, and there will be a variety of New Balance apparel with the RTB logo available to highlight your memorable experience.

This event has become so popular, and the demand is such that they have expanded to allow 350 teams this year. Returning teams, and others spawned by past participants, will fill those slots quickly. Registration is now available for both team captains and individuals.

The Same—Only Better
The Reach the Beach Relay is an outstanding event. How can you take something so terrific, a highlight of the year for many runners, and make it even better? This is how: Move the start to Cannon Mountain, change more than a third of the legs, add terrific sponsorship, work even more closely with the outstanding New Hampshire State Parks system, partner with a vital national program, and listen to the customers--the runners.

Runners love distance relays. The Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire is running and adventure. This event will be the manifestation of team building. With admirable organization, attention to every detail, and the tireless support of the many volunteer organizations, it is ideal for competitive running clubs and dynamic companies. The ninth annual Reach the Beach Relay will simply be the event of the year for many teams and corporations.


New Balance
In addition to sponsoring the event, New Balance will be participating with at least three corporate teams. They have had a team in this relay from the very first run. Dan Green of New Balance is an enthusiastic participant, and says many co-workers look forward to running in the corporate division. He ran his first Reach the Beach in his first week of employment at New Balance.

“It was a great way to meet co-workers and to be initiated into the company. Many of those I ran with in that first year are still friends and important contacts within the company. And we know each other far better than we would by simply working together. The RTB experience has taught us that when things are tough, we really can ‘do this’ at work”, he said.

“Everyone really enjoys this event, and when we heard that sponsorship was open we did not hesitate to get involved,” he continued. New Balance, based in Boston, is now an international company with a broad line of running shoes and apparel, some of which will be available as Reach-the-Beach specials. See www.newbalance.com.

Timberland and City Year
Cassie Heppner of Timberland said many in her company really look forward to running each year. They are also enthusiastic sponsors. “You know it is a popular event when people are already asking about forming teams this early,” she said. “We think it is a terrific event, and the type of community activity we like to be involved in—there is nothing like going through all those miles on the road and in that van with our team. We had so much fun”

Timberland is a green company, and heavily supportive of community service with their Path of Service Program, which offers paid time off for employees involved in community programs. Check them out at www.timberland.com.

Timberland is also supportive of City Year, donating space in their building to its staff and supporting this vital program. City Year is at work to strengthen New Hampshire communities, and they are now gearing up for their Youth Service Days, April 20 and 21. For more information on City year go to www.cityyear.org.

Cannon to Hampton—State Park to State Park
The New Hampshire Division of State Parks and Recreation will have an even larger presence and participation this year, according to Amy Bassett who is based at Cannon Mountain and is coordinating with race directors for the use of all the parks along the route. Bassett and others in the program are very enthusiastic and looking forward to showing off the tremendous resources of one of the premiere state park systems in the country.

The New Hampshire State Park system, one of the best in the nation, will be in evidence all along the course, beginning with Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch State Park, and including Echo Lake and Bear Brook, for example. Some have campgrounds. Many of the 35 transition areas are in or near parks. Five very carefully selected vehicle transition areas (VTA’s) provide plenty of space and all necessary facilities for hydration, rest, and refueling. They will greatly simplify planning and logistics for teams. Proceeds from the race will benefit the New Hampshire State Park system and many community organizations along the race route.

As the host location for the race, Cannon Mountain will be home base for the start of all race activities beginning with a pre-race pasta dinner overlooking Mount Washington and the Presidential Mountain Range, as well as the nearby Franconia Range. Dinner will be the night before the race, so come early and explore all of the dramatic beauty this region has to offer.

The Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence National Relay Series
The Reach the Beach Relay will partner with the Avon Foundation and the Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence Relay Series, with sponsorship and support for this vitally important program. Reach the Beach is one of 11 relays chosen from across the country to run in support of this program, which began with the Relay in Westchester County, New York. Funds raised with this series of partnerships and this event will be part of the program aimed at providing help for families and especially children affected by domestic violence. For more on the program and the series go to www.needforspeedrelay.org or www.avonfoundation.org.


What a Course
The Reach the Beach Relay will run more than 200 miles through the spectacular scenery of northern New England. This autumn trek will pack an unforgettable experience-of-a-lifetime into 24 hours. It will run from beautiful Franconia Notch in the heart of the White Mountains to the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean.

On September 14th 350 teams will set off in waves from the shadow of Cannon Mountain for 200 miles and 36 individual, adventurous legs. This start is a big change, and the first eight legs are all new. The start is at Cannon Mountain, home of great skiing and the legendary aerial tramway. But there will be no running on ski trails this year. From Cannon Mountain the first leg is an easy 7.1-mile run south through the Notch on the beautiful Recreational Trail. It runs between the Kinsman and Franconia Mountain ranges, past campgrounds, the Basin, Boise Rock, and more down to the famous Flume Gorge. The second leg (8.9 miles) heads south on Route 3 from the Flume through the southern portion of the notch to Lincoln Woods in the village of Lincoln on Route 112. From Lincoln the course will traverse the 34.5 miles of the famous Kancamagus Highway, Route 112 east to the town of Conway.

The third leg is now the legendary “Bear” as it climbs 7.7 miles from Lincoln up the flank of Mount Kancamagus over the pass to the Pemigewasset Overlook on the east side. Leg four runs 4.8 miles to Sugar Hill Overlook, and then leg five is also 4.8 miles to the Russell Colbath Historic Site parking area. Both run along the scenic Swift River. Leg six runs 5.8 miles to the Lower Falls Picnic Area, and leg seven goes from there to Ham’s Arena in the town of Conway to complete the "Kancamagus Adventure".

The five Vehicle Transition areas are carefully chosen; they are every six legs and help tremendously with logistics. There are many highlights along the course, including state parks like White Lake, Bear Brook, and Kingston, as well as picturesque Squam Lake, the expansive Deerfield Fair Grounds, quintessential New Engalnd villages, the ocean, and so much more. At least five other legs have changed, either partially or completely, as have some of the relay handoff points in order to ease congestion and, if you can believe it, shorten the race. The course passes through so many communities, with such a variety of scenery and views: Center Harbor, Laconia, Gilmanton, Deerfield, Candia, Chester, Sandown, Danville, Kingston, and Exeter are only a few of the many communities along the course.

The course heads southwest from Conway passing west of Lake Winnipesaukee before heading generally south to Candia and Chester. From there the course is mostly east, passing through many villages and towns in route to the sea.

Following spectacular mountain vistas, the course runs through the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire, including the shoreline of Squam Lake. Granite State features along the way will provide many photo opportunities. Many homes and structures along the route date from revolutionary and early American periods. Volunteers in many of the villages and towns will provide support as runners visit their communities.

Hampton Beach and the finish line will be a welcome site when the ocean comes into view. The last miles are immediately adjacent to the picturesque shore of the Atlantic. The entire team will likely cross the finish line with the final runner at Hampton Beach State Park. They will celebrate their victory with a huge party on the sands of Hampton Beach. Competitors, volunteers, and families will relax and exchange stories about the trek and its most memorable moments. The party will include plenty of food, massage, and music on the beach.

Organization and Information
The 12-person teams and six-person ultra teams will run around the clock, completing 36 relay legs or stages, each with well-designed transfer points and rest areas.

This event is exceptionally well organized; every detail is covered, offering a valuable and memorable experience to all participants. Organizers have developed a race handbook, more comprehensive and sensible than for most other events, which governs safety and competition. It addresses concerns for all stakeholders—runners, volunteers, communities, the state, and the environment. Their informative Web Site, www.rtbrelay.com, provides a wealth of information, including maps and on-line registration. It is this incredible standard of organization that has attracted such strong sponsorship support and brought runners back year after year. Check it out for the “who, what, and why”, of this terrific event.

New Hampshire was made for running! Mountain vistas, historic villages, rural farmlands, nighttime campfires, lakeside views, and much more will make the miles really enjoyable. This unique relay is tremendously scenic and rewarding. You have to experience this event.

Divisions
There are 18 divisions—six for women, six for men, and six mixed—that make this event available and competitive for all. Three corporate categories create unique opportunities for companies to show their corporate colors, the ultimate team-building program. Running clubs and social organizations will all be represented from throughout the region, the USA, and Canada. There are only 350 exclusive team slots available on a first come basis. The 4,000 participants will share a well-planned, carefully choreographed race from the White Mountains to the sea.

Each person on the 12-person teams will run a total of 17 miles, and ultra runners about 33 miles on average. Teams must finish within 34.5 hours, which is a pace of 10 minutes, 20 seconds per mile. Teams will start according to pace, with slower teams heading out at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, September 14, and other starts will be staggered during the day by pace. All teams will be finished by 7:30 p.m. on Saturday—Hampton Beach State Park.

The three corporate divisions—open women, open men, and mixed open—are in great demand. This is a tremendous value, not only as an adventure, but also as a company resource. Employees and companies can use the event to develop employee fitness and wellness programs. Participation improves morale, and they can develop a program with RTB as an annual goal. Corporate competition has been an increasingly important part of the overall event.

Running clubs and other organizations from throughout the country will challenge in the open, masters super masters, and grand masters divisions in all three categories. The Ultra teams—made up of six members—add a different dynamic altogether. This relay will be the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork; shared aspirations and accomplishments.

Communities
This will be a community event up and down the course. Support and involvement from local clubs, organizations, and dozens of Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops will make all runners feel welcome. Runners and volunteers will enjoy the hospitality of the communities along the route—night and day. For example in Candia runners will be treated to an all-you-can-eat breakfast, cooked by the Candia Volunteer Fire Department at the Henry W. Moore School—beginning at 4 a.m.!

Let’s Go, Let’s Do It
The Reach the Beach Relay—September 14 and 15--will be held at the beginning of the famous peak foliage season in northern New Hampshire. The foliage in the Granite State is so impressive that tourists come from all across the country and all over the world for the view. But there is nothing like those up close personal views you get while running through New Hampshire’s mountains, farms, towns and villages.

There will be prizes from Timberland, Fuel Belt, and Smart Wool. All participants will receive a team photo, which will be professionally shot at the start, and a distinctive Reach the Beach medal. There will be music and a memorable party at the beach. Most importantly, every team and every participant will gain the greatest reward--the memorable experience, team camaraderie, and overall satisfaction. It will be an unforgettable moment as your team finishes this challenge, the ninth annual Reach the Beach Relay, the longest distance major relay in North America. It is time to plan, time to recruit, and to register. Don’t miss this one.

 

 

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