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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > cigna/elliot corporate 5k road race—this celebration of fitness is a new england gem

CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race—This Celebration of Fitness is a New England Gem
This is the 5K event everyone talks about all year, the race for employees and individuals of all abilities. It is a celebration of corporate pride and fitness, including first-time walkers and world-class stars.

CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race—This Celebration of Fitness is a New England Gem

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 17 June, 2008

It is the race for everyone. The 16th annual CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race will run in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday, August 14th! One of the largest timed corporate races in the country, and one of New England’s largest races, this 5K is a giant morale booster and an evening out for employees of all companies. And it is a superior race for individuals. Every company in New England can take part, whether their team has experienced runners or first-time walkers. It is a celebration of company pride, and commitment to employees’ enjoyment and fitness. Mark your calendar for this must-do event. It will be one of the biggest and best races in New England with over 5,000 expected. What a terrific tradition and celebration!

Companies and agencies, small and large, will have the opportunity to show the company logo and colors. It is truly for all companies, those with a few employees, and those with thousands. Only five individuals are needed to score. Unattached individual runners are also a big part of the party, led by world-class international elite women and men, along with regional stars.

The CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K is the ideal event for first-time racers, and what an awesome memory they will have of their first event—running with some of the best athletes in the world on the same course at the same time! And every individual, from the winners to number 5,000 across the line, will get a precise finishing time to reinforce that experience. This was the first race for thousands of runners over the years, and for some it is the only official race they run.

From the very beginning in 1993, the CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K has been special, not just because of its size, but because of its tremendous organization and attention to detail. The outstanding organization, in turn, has brought many elite international stars to Manchester.

The race will blast off on wide-open Elm Street in downtown with New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV Channel 9 cameras taking it in live at 6:20 p.m.

Pre and post race activities will be held at Veterans Park, only a few blocks from the start and immediately adjacent to the finish on Merrimack Street. Veterans Park is opposite the Center of New Hampshire on Elm, one block north of the Elm Street/Granite Street intersection and the Verizon Center. It will be a party atmosphere--before, during, and long after the race. The official post-race party will take place at Jillian's located at the corner of Granite and Commercial Streets in Manchester's Mill Yard district. But there will be many celebrations in many locations.

“The CIGNA/Elliot 5K has something for everyone it’s a fast USATF certified course for elite athletes from all over the world. More importantly, it’s a fun event for individuals, corporate teams and families,” said Don Curry, president, CIGNA HealthCare in New England.

“If you have never participated in a road race before, use the 3.1 mile course to kick-start your fitness routine. Set a specific goal of finishing the race and then celebrate your success with us at the post-race party at Jillian’s.” continued Curry.

“The training process and participation in the road race will help improve your health, part of the mission of both organizations. And, by adding your name to list of participants, it will give us the opportunity to boost our numbers and show the country what tiny New Hampshire can do,” he added.

Ever since its inception, the CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K has consistently ranked in the top 20 largest 5K road races in the country according to Running USA. For many years it has ranked among the 100 largest timed road races of any length in the country.

CIGNA and The Elliot are on a campaign to challenge those who have never considered running or walking in a road race before to consider doing so. And this year, participants may even document their success by having their photos taken at the finish line.

“All of the races that are larger than ours take place in big cities, so these rankings are incredible for a small state like New Hampshire and speak to the quality of the race,” said Douglas Dean, chairman and CEO of Elliot Health System. “We want to set new records of attendance this year to show the country that New Hampshire is not only first in presidential primaries, but is also a leader in health and fitness!”

The Course
What a great course, and the record times prove it. With the wide Elm Street start line and wave start, it will not seem crowded despite thousands in the field. Net time begins when runners cross the starting line mat.

Runners will head north on Elm Street (from the intersection of Amherst Street) to a left on Thayer, then south on River Road and Canal Street; then they will turn left to the finish on Merrimack Street—only three turns. Times for every participant will be automatically recorded by Granite State Race Services using the ChampionChip System. Each runner will wear a coded computer “chip” and have their exact time registered for posterity. This is not just a fun run—every individual and every company team will have their finishing time (gun time, net time, and age adjusted time) posted on the Cool Running Website, available to the world.

Course Records
Speaking of records, a new course standard for women or men will net an athlete $1,000. A record breaking non-winning performance will garner $500. They are tough standards though. Kenyan distance star Joseph Mwai set the men’s record and made history in 2003 as he blasted through the 11th annual CIGNA 5K in 13:54.73. It was not only a course record, but also an all-time New Hampshire record—the first ever under 14 minutes.

Marie Davenport of Guilford, Connecticut set the standard in the 2004 race as she blasted to 15:38.37. Davenport ran the second fastest women’s 5K ever recorded in New Hampshire. Olympic Bronze Medalist Lynn Jennings sped to 15:28 at Bud Light Couples in Concord, 1993.

Cash Awards
The overall women’s and men’s winners will receive a $600 check, with $500 for second, $400 for third, $300 fourth, and $200 fifth. Female and male age-graded masters winners will win round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines. Another incentive is available--$250 to any woman who zips in under 17:20 or man who breaks 14:50. The first woman and man from New Hampshire will receive $100.

Record performances--course, national, and state--will be based on official race (gun) time, as will all cash awards. All other individual and team awards will be based on Championchip net time.

Other Awards
There are 30 age group divisions, and awards will go three deep for medals. Age groups are set in five-year increments, with divisions for under 15, 15-19, then every five years through 80+.
There are three divisions for team awards: Coed, female, and male—all age graded. And there are divisions based on company size for the Corporate Cup Awards--prizes awarded for numbers of participants and for highest percentage of company participation. Corporate Cup awards are based on small (5-15), medium (16-99), and large (100+ employees). All team awards are given to the top three in each category.

Every finisher will receive a commemorative prize, a CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K tradition. Proceeds from the race will support Easter Seals New Hampshire and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Corporate Teams
Company and agency teams—that is the name of the game in this one. There are no club or school teams, or teams from any other designation. Women on company team rosters will automatically score on their company’s women’s team, and men automatically score on men’s teams. Co-ed teams must be designated; there is no limit on the number so named. However, those designated for co-ed teams will not score on other teams. For men and women’s teams, the top five score. In co-ed the first two women and the first two men, along with the next fastest runner designated for the co-ed team, will be the scorers. This will be sorted out instantly, along with the age grading by Granite State Race Services.

Corporate teams score by total time (five top runners’ combined times), not by cross-country rules (finishing position). All team scores are based on individual age-graded performance tables. However, this event is about much more than team score—being there is winning!

Come to Manchester on August 14th and be part of something very special. Friends, family, teammates—everyone can do this. Share the passion—run, walk, and be fit. Be part of something memorable and sign up for the CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race.

Company Benefits
On August 14 Manchester will be the place to be for companies from throughout the region—all companies. Firms that participate in the CIGNA/Elliot Corporate Road Race can definitely undergo major changes in employee morale and attitudes toward fitness and health. Corporations can and do use the power of running and fitness to change and improve corporate culture, employee morale, employee loyalty, employee health/fitness, and attendance. This race is an ideal team building program when promoted properly within the company. And if cultivated it can have a year-long impact on employee fitness and morale.

It sounds terrific and powerful, and it is. Companies who are supportive of fitness programs—especially running—are definitely healthier and more productive. Business leaders now realize that their company, and their employees individually, can greatly benefit from fitness. This race can be the catalyst and the cornerstone.

Many employees look forward to this annual happening, and make it a party. Company pride and camaraderie take on new meaning when employees participate as a group—it is invaluable.

All team participants will receive colorful, well-made T-shirts with their company logo. Many companies also buy employees’ running singlets and shorts; a few add wind suits. It’s a great investment, allowing each group to show the company colors. Many have a banner made; then take a team photo on race night to hang in the company fitness center or lobby. Everyone can do a 5K—walk or run--and the sense of teamwork and pride are so tremendously effective.

Corporate and Running Communities Coming Together
This race is a celebration of running and fitness, and a unique opportunity for a company outing. Individuals are encouraged to participate, and are eligible for age group prizes, as are members of corporate teams. What a deal! Those signing up for company teams can save a few dollars (most companies pay anyway); entry fees include the shirt. Number, chip, and T-shirt pickup will be available from noon to 6:00 p.m. on race day at Veteran’s Park.

There will be corporate banners everywhere in Veteran’s Park where registration and post race festivities will be held, along with many post-race parties. Do take advantage of this tremendous community resource provided by CIGNA Health Care and Elliot Health Systems, and show your colors. Join the fun. Enjoy the race and party. Celebrate fitness!



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