The CVS Caremark Downtown 5K—National Championship and So Much More
The CVS Caremark Downtown 5K is the women's and men’s USATF 5K National Championships; the Providence, Rhode Island Classic is also a must-do for team and individual competition, as well as multiple races for kids.
Posted Monday, 7 July, 2008
The CVS Caremark 5K Downtown 5K is no ordinary road race. Not only will some of the fastest men and women runners in the world be competing for serious prize money, but school children of all ages, firefighters and police, corporate teams, and everyday runners will be sharing the road in one of the most fun and inspirational races on the calendar. It runs on September 21 in beautiful Providence, Rhode Island.
Race Director Charlie Breagy notes the race was started in 1990 by “Irish and English guys” from Providence College, including Geoff Smith, two-time Boston Marathon winner, and Olympic silver medalist John Tracy. Breagy said the race was meant to “give something back to the community.” An expected 7,000 total participants speak to the appeal of the CVS Caremark 5K and related events.
And give back it does. One of the chief initiatives from CVS is their commitment to kids’ fitness. The children’s and student’s races are the result, and are really remarkable. Over 20 age groups of young runners compete including the All Kids Can, an inspirational 200-meter run for intellectually and physically challenged youngsters.
The 20 age categories are offered for children from kindergarten through 8th grade. Every effort is made to include every child who wants to run, even if they can’t afford the entry fee. In addition, any child who runs as part of a school team will have their entry fee waived.
Awards are given to the top 5 student runners in each age group. All youth runners receive a t-shirt and lunch, as well as a medallion when they complete the race.
The race committee encourages middle schools, grades 6, 7, and 8 to compete as teams. If 25 or more runners finish their race, the school is eligible to win one of ten $500 raffle prizes.
Runners will also have the chance to run in the same race on the same course, and at the same time, as potential Olympic gold medalists. The CVS Caremark 5K is host to the USATF 5K championships--women's and men's individual and teams--and top runners will be competing, including Marblehead Massachusetts resident Shalane Flanagan, current USA record holder of the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and recent qualifier for the Olympic team competing in Bejing. There will be many world class and national class athletes competing, as they have annually. This race is a big draw for top runners.
The 5K championship categories are open to US citizens only and they must have current USATF membership. Prize money for the top 10 USATF U.S. athletes are $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, and $2,000 for third place down to $100 for tenth. However, USATF membership is not required to participate in the race.
Championship medals will be awarded for team competition and scored based on the times of the top 5 finishers. Clubs can declare a maximum of 8 scorers for a men’s team and 5 for a women’s team. The top 5 club members in the men’s race will score time as will the top 3 women club members. See the CVS Caremark 5K web site for additional details.
One of the biggest and most enjoyable attractions in the CVS Caremark 5K is its team competition. Many groups, including corporations, firefighters, police, colleges, and--new this year--health clubs and gyms will compete for team honors. The top 5 teams in the Men and Women’s Open division and the top 3 men and women’s Master’s will win a pair of New Balance running shoes.
In addition, firefighter and police teams will compete in The Challenge! The times of the top 50 firefighters will be compared to the top 50 police to determine the winner and bragging rights.
And that is far from all there is; one of the most significant events will held after the main 5K race – the High School Inspirational 3K. This fun and motivational event is meant to encourage and inspire students after experiencing the excitement of the 5K. Students must be a member of a high school team to compete in the Inspirational 3K. There are no fees for the 3K event and all runners receive a t-shirt and refreshments. Beagy notes, “This race is all about fun.”
The 5K course itself starts against the backdrop of the Rhode Island capital building on Francis Street and follows along a course downtown, along the Providence River, onto S. Main street and its stunning architecture, around the east side of the State House and back to the finish. “The course is about 97% flat” according to Beagy, with a short downhill start. Parking is across from the State House, and plenty of spaces are available if you get there early. Additional parking is available at Providence Place for a small fee.
Over 500 volunteers will manage the race, and over the last 10 years, “…all the kinks have been worked out. Experience is important with an event of this complexity, and key race volunteers have been involved since the inaugural in 1990. The city is behind us and many key leaders have been around for a decade,” said Breagy, who assures a well-run and fun experience for all runners and spectators. Local bands will spur runners on along the course while Steve Smith and the Nakeds headline the entertainment starting at 10:15am and again at 11:30am till the party is over!
When asked for other volunteers and leaders to talk with, Breagy didn’t hesitate. “Talk to Geoff Smith. He’s been involved since the start and dedicates a tremendous amount of time both planning and at the race handing out trophies and motivating the kids.” Smith praised the sponsorship of CVS and its long term support of the race.
“CVS has done a great job and made this race work over the years. They have contributed a significant amount of money to increase the prize structure as well as contribute to local charities and youth running.” Smith also credits Beagy and the core of supporters that have worked on the race over the years. “A lot of the volunteers have been here from the beginning”, said Smith, “…and we’re all a strong group of friends.”
If you want to be challenged, inspired, or thrilled, you must come to this race and related events, the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K on September 21, in Providence, the capital of the Ocean State.
Please check the CVS Caremark 5K web site first for additional details on the race.
Call the race hotline at 401-751-7287 for questions if you can’t find the information on the web site.
The CVS Caremark 5K starts at 11:15. The Youth Race start times run from 8:00 to 10:30. The CVS Caremark Downtown 3K Inspiration School Run Starts at 12:15pm.
Online Entry fees (Lowest prices)
5k Run & Walk
$20 before until 7/31/08
$22 from 8/1 to 8/31/08
$23 from 9/1 to 9/16/08
$10 until 7/31/08
$11 from 8/1 to 08/31/08
$12 from 9/1 to 9/16/08
*Mail-in Entry fees DO NOT MAIL AFTER 9/13/08
5k Run & Walk
$22 if postmarked by 8/1/2008
$24 if postmarked by 9/1/2008
$25 if postmarked after 9/1/2008
$11 before 8/1/2008
$12 before 9/1/2008
$13 if postmarked before 9/13/08
Race day registration, number and t-shirt pickup is at the NEW Renaissance Providence Hotel, 5 Avenue of the Arts in Providence.