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home > races/results > usa: rhode island > cox providence rhode races -- one small state; three big races

Cox Providence Rhode Races -- One Small State; Three Big Races
Racing is big in Little Rhody; these races are exceptionally well managed and growing tremendously in popularity. Providence has it all!

Cox Providence Rhode Races -- One Small State; Three Big Races
Michelle Boisvert

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By Michelle M. Boisvert
Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008

The Cox Providence Rhode Races featuring the Cox Sports Marathon, Willow Tree Half Marathon and 5K bring three big races to one small New England state. The second annual Cox Providence Rhode Race is scheduled to run through the streets of downtown Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday, May 3, 2009. The day’s events feature the Cox Sports Marathon and the Willow Tree Half Marathon, both starting at 8:00 a.m., as well as the 5K run and walk, beginning at 11:00 a.m. With a new loop course that starts and ends in scenic and historic downtown Providence, this race just keeps getting bigger and better!

Give a Memorable Gift
Are you still searching for that special holiday gift for the runner in your life? Give a most memorable one by purchasing an entry to the Cox Sports Marathon, Willow Tree Half Marathon or 5K and soak in the appreciation.

Getting There
Downtown Providence is conveniently located and easy to access from the north and south via I-95; and it is within walking distance from the Amtrak and MBTA station and bus stops. The heart of Providence is just a short 10-minute drive from T.F. Green Airport. The downtown Providence location for these races makes all three events runner, family, and spectator-friendly. Public transportation options also make it a very “green” event to attend.

Getting Ready
The Host Hotel Westin Providence and the start/finish on Exchange Street – adjacent to Burnside Park and Kennedy Plaza – offer a short walking distance to all the area has to offer, including hotels, restaurants, theaters, the Providence Place Mall, parking, and other attractions.

The Westin Providence is conveniently located just steps away from the new, collocated start and finish, making it convenient no matter which race you run. This allows you to get a few extra winks before heading out into the spring air for a warm-up run.

The Westin Providence is home to the Cox Providence Rhode Races registration and health and wellness expo. The 2009 Cox Providence Rhode Races Expo will be held on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In addition to various running-related vendor booths, late registration and race packet pickup will also be available during the expo. Be sure to beat the rush and sign up online at Registration is currently open for all three races; online entry is the most economical and convenient way to register. All pre-registered runners in the Cox Sports Marathon and Willow Tree Half Marathon will receive a technical shirt.

The hotel is even offering special discounted rates (visit ) for marathon weekend, so you’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket for that post-race treat.

Several pre-race festivities are on the docket for race weekend as well, including a pasta dinner featuring a special guest speaker on Saturday, May 2. Previous speakers have included running greats Bill Rodgers and Geoff Smith. Stay tuned for this year’s celebrity visit. Tickets to the pasta dinner can be purchased online at

Outstanding Races—Terrific Courses
Since all the pre-race details practically take care of themselves, you have more time to focus on the scenery and your pace as you shoot for that Boston Marathon qualifying time. The Cox Sports Marathon is a USATF-certified 2010 BAA Boston Qualifier; the Willow Tree Half Marathon and 5K are also certified courses.

Course elevation gain is greatly improved from the inaugural Cox Providence Rhode Races, notes Charlie Breagy, Cox Providence Rhode Races Director. There are two challenging areas located around miles 2 and 5. So, this is sure to be a great New England course for that Boston Qualifier.

Those running the full Cox Sports Marathon will get to enjoy some off-road running comfort. Once out of the city center, runners travel to the shores of the East Bay and India Point Park, an 18-acre space that showcases the Ocean State’s shoreline with impressive views of the Narragansett Bay. With about seven miles of the Cox Sports Marathon running on the East Bay Bike Path, this portion of the course gives racers a break from the roadways. This scenic ribbon of pavement is a gem; it is off limits to motor vehicles and a comfortable and enjoyable tour along the bay. This scenic open space filled with trees and walking paths also gives friends and family a few chances to snap some memorable photos of their runners in action.

The course winds through Barrington, heads back along the bike path, and then loops back into downtown. Runners will no doubt be able to muster up a strong finish as cheering crowds and music of the live band give them that extra push into downtown Providence.

Designed for Runners, by Runners
Breagy certainly has the running credentials to put on a first rate event with all members of the running community in mind. “We have developed a very scenic course that includes areas of Providence and a good portion of the East Bay”, said Breagy. A graduate of Providence College where he was the two-time New England running champion, Breagy is dedicated to topping last year’s event. “We had a great mix of runners last year,” said Breagy. “We can expect an even greater number of participants in 2009 as we continue to enhance this event.” Approximately 4,000 people competed in last year’s races from as far away as Hong Kong and Belgium. Expect participation to grow in 2009 as word of this great event spreads.

There is a 6-hour time limit for the Cox Sports Marathon and a 3.5-hour time limit for the Willow Tree Half Marathon, making it very walker-friendly. Each race will also use the ChampionChip timing system. All Cox Sports Marathon and Willow Tree Half Marathon finishers will be awarded unique finisher’s medals.

Teamwork and Charities
If you want to compete, but don’t want to do go it alone, then you’re in luck! The Cox Providence Rhode Races offers several team categories, including the Corporate, Collegiate and Firefighter and Police Team Challenges. There will also be a Battle of the Health Clubs category for the Cox Sports Marathon, Willow Tree Half Marathon and 5K races. First place teams in each category will receive awards. Individual age group winners and top 3 wheelchair winners will also receive awards.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) will also participate in this year’s events. They’ll be hosting a training program for runners competing in the Cox Sports Marathon or Willow Tree Half Marathon. For more information on joining the TNT team, visit

Support Just for You
A top-notch event like this doesn’t happen without the support of dedicated sponsors and many, many dedicated volunteers. Cox Communications has signed on again as the Title Sponsor of the event. Johnson & Wales University is the Premiere Sponsor, and Willow Tree returns as the half marathon sponsor. Charitable partners include Cox Charities New England, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training and the National Kidney Foundation.

Volunteers will be placed throughout the course to man the race’s several water and aid stations. There will be water stations located every two miles, and Power Bars and gels will be distributed throughout the Cox Sports Marathon and Willow Tree Half Marathon courses. Local police will also be on-hand enforcing strict traffic control to ensure that all runners have a safe and enjoyable race. The health and safety of the runners is top priority. RI DMAT, the Disaster Medical Assistance Team, will provide medical care and treatment in the event of any medical emergency.

Capital City—Historic and Scenic
Stretch those legs and enjoy some post-race tours and unique scenery. Providence, which was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, is rich in history and architecture. The Providence River flows through the compact downtown region with several restaurants, the Waterplace Park amphitheater and the Riverwalk lining its shores. Many of the downtown’s historic buildings have maintained their Federal and Victorian architectural styles since the 19th century.

Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (and excellent museum and gallery) are close by. Be sure to take a moment to gaze up at the Bank of America Building (a.k.a. the Superman Building) and One Financial Plaza – the two tallest buildings in Rhode Island – to appreciate their impressive structural design.

The distinctive domed capitol building is always a big draw, inside and out.

Make 2009 Your Year to Race in the Ocean State
Spring is a perfect time to visit New England. And with all that the Cox Providence Rhode Races has to offer to everyone, this is the perfect event to combine with a family vacation. Located just minutes from the ocean and rich in culture, history and natural beauty, Providence, Rhode Island, packs a big punch for a small state. But don’t take my word for it, register today at for the Cox Sports Marathon, Willow Tree Half Marathon or 5K and see for yourself in 2009!



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