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home > races/results > usa: rhode island > the 4th annual navigant credit union running festival, half marathon, 5k and youth run, in the captivating blackstone valley of rhode island

The 4th Annual Navigant Credit Union Running Festival, Half Marathon, 5K and Youth Run, in the Captivating Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island
The Navigant Credit Union Running Festival, all events, will run this year on May 4, 2014, starting and finishing in historic Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Blackstone Valley Half Marathon parallels the famous Blackstone River Valley and the National Heritage Corridor where the American Industrial Revolution began. The Navigant 5K course tours downtown Pawtucket. Be an industrious runner and enjoy an exceptionally well managed, nicely presented event—for runners, by runners.

The 4th Annual Navigant Credit Union Running Festival, Half Marathon, 5K and Youth Run, in the Captivating Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island

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Navigant Credit Union Running Festival Event Website

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Saturday, 12 April, 2014

The countdown to the Fourth Annual Navigant Credit Union Running Festival has begun! There are three events offering several race options, including team competition in the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon and Navigant 5K, along with a Youth Fun Run for kids 14-and-under. The half marathon runs on a great course, including more than four miles on the beautiful Blackstone River Bikeway. This event is right on the Massachusetts border, easy to get to via Interstate 95, and only 40 minutes from Boston.

The half marathon runs on Sunday morning, May 4th, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and the Youth Run is at 10:30; the 5K kicks off at 11:00 a.m. The Navigant Credit Union Running Festival is run in conjunction with the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival on the same weekend (May 2 to 4); twice the fun.

All races will start and end adjacent to Pawtucket City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Avenue, only a few blocks down from the famous Slater Mill Museum. There is plenty of free parking.

This exciting event will run in historic Pawtucket and the towns of the Blackstone Valley, birth place of the American Industrial Revolution, which was powered by the Blackstone River. In fact much of the half marathon course will be running adjacent to the river, crossing it several times along with the parallel canal and river tributaries. The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor encompasses the 48-mile river with intersecting canals, bike and pedestrian paths, and preserved green spaces. It is simply a delightful region, and a wonderful place to run.

These races will be directed and administered by Patriot Events of Rhode Island. Packets shirts and bibs can be picked up the day before the race to save time and hassle on race morning: Visit Rhode Runner, Inc. at 657 North Main Street, Providence 02904 from noon to 4:00 p.m. Or they may be picked up on race morning from 7:00 a.m. to 15 minutes before your race at the Blackstone Tourism Council and Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket 02860. (Check out the walking tours while there.) Registration will also be available those days/locations but of course it costs more--so sign up now.

Register Today and Save—Double Up and Save More on Two Half Marathons
Here is a great opportunity to register for TWO outstanding races, and save significantly on both. For only $70.00 (usual price of one half marathon) you can register for TWO. They have teamed with the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon, 7:00 a.m. on August 17, 2014, in East Providence . Register now for the Narragansett Bay Half and the Navigant Credit Union Running Festival and set those goals accordingly. Do both and compare your May 4th time with the August 17th pace--both courses are exceptionally flat and fast. To take advantage of the $70 combination offer just select this option when registering at either of the two websites., May 4, 2014 Pawtucket, RI Sunday, August 17, 2014 East Providence, RI

If signing up for only one it is still important to do it early, both to get the long-sleeve tech shirt and to save dollars—the price increases between now and race day.

Take advantage of online registration today (also a savings over mail-in) for one or possibly two races. Be a part of this celebration of running in one of the most historic areas in North America. Begin planning for your spring running adventure that is sure to be a memorable experience for years to come. Please visit the race website and enjoy running individually or with your team.

Distance Running as it should Be
Just as Rhode Island is a unique and extraordinary destination, so too is this event unique, and not only because of the history. All participants will have a truly memorable time, a really good time, with live music, medals for all half marathon finishers, long sleeve technical shirts for the first 1,000 to register (for both races) then short sleeve T-shirts thereafter, a beautiful course, running on the same weekend as the Cherry Blossom Festival, and a race organization that has all the details covered.
And for added enjoyment there are TEAM options: Family and Friends, Corporate, Health Club/Gym/YMCA, and of course charity teams. All four team division can have unlimited numbers on the team—the first three across the line score.

Some of the amenities include those custom tech shirts (first 1,000) or commemorative t-shirt, 11 aid stations on course, chip timing, outstanding course (including 4 miles immediately on the bikeway), digital clocks at all even miles, American made finisher medals for half marathoners, and the excellent post race celebration with live music. Go to and check it out.

Individual Awards in each race will be given to the top three women and men overall, and the top women and men 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 plus, both races. Awards will also be given to the top teams in each grouping and the first girl and boy in the Youth Run.

The Courses
There are excellent maps and descriptions of the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon and the Navigant 5K, along with turn-by-turn and mile-by-mile detail on the website. We need not duplicate that here. The half marathon course has a small loop to begin before heading generally northeast through Central Falls and Lincoln, including the villages of Lonsdale, Quinnville and Ashton. It follows the river in both directions, although not on the same track. The outbound includes a small portion of the Blackstone River Bikeway, although mainly on roadways and streets such as River Road. On the return runners will use about four miles of the bikeway before heading for that triumphant finish at city hall.

The 5K runs from city hall and crosses the river heading east on Walnut Street and then on to Division Street where it passes the famous McCoy Stadium of the Pawtucket Red Sox (see Red Sox below); there is a counter-clockwise loop with a spur before it heads back west on Walnut retracing to the finish on Roosevelt Avenue.

More Information, Please
Please visit their outstanding race website for information on everything necessary to plan your race: course descriptions and maps, bib pickup (Saturday, May 3rd and race morning), gear check, traffic, volunteer opportunities, photos, awards, results, contacts, partners, sponsors, charities, event schedule, and more:

Set a PR with this mostly flat course with likely ideal conditions. Get some serious vacation time and enjoy a memorable experience—racing and otherwise.

For more information e-mail or call 401-952-6333.

Volunteer opportunities are available. If you want to be part of it and not simply wait around while a friend or loved one is running, sign up to help and enjoy being part of the sport—e-mail or phone number above.

Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley
This was the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and fortunately much is preserved with museums and parks and the John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, National Park Service:

This corridor is a special kind of National Park, a living landscape with thousands of natural and historic treasures.

As early as the 1670’s mills were established along the river to provide tools and utensils and flour for the growing colony. They grew ever more efficient and sophisticated and 120 years later, between 1790 and 1793, Samuel Slater built a water powered cotton spinning mill that was fully mechanized and the textile industry in New England and the new United States was born.

Slater’s last mill building is now part of a museum complex dedicated to bringing the American Industrial Revolution to life, a truly remarkable experience and resource.

Pawtucket Falls where Slater chose his mill site was ideal for the purpose; it was the last and largest of several falls on the Blackstone, and below Pawtucket the river becomes tidal. We are told “Pawtucket” means “place by the waterfall” in the Algonquin language.

Today Pawtucket is a city of about 73,000 with a strong industrial base, including some textile businesses as well as jewelry, silverware, and other metal works. Toy maker Hasbro is headquartered in Pawtucket. Beyond the industrial traditions it has also become a center for the arts and culture.

The entire Blackstone River Valley, a National Heritage River, is a fascinating run through time and natural beauty. The river itself flows 48 miles from Worcester to Pawtucket, and in the 1820’s and 30’s the Blackstone Canal was built parallel to the river itself, allowing canal boats to easily transport goods in both directions, Providence and the seaport to Worcester and to all the locations in between. This added to the industrial capability of the area. The Blackstone was called, “America’s hardest working river”. The canal is still there and part of the experience along this course.

Les Pawson of Pawtucket
Running legend Les Pawson (1905—1992) lived his entire life in Pawtucket. He was most famous for winning the Boston Marathon three times, but also won just about every other major road race in the northeast and a few beyond. He first won Boston in 1933, beginning a remarkable stretch of nine years where Rhode Island runners won five of the nine (and Johnny Kelley won one another in 1935). Pawson also won in 1938 and 1941. Ellison “Tarzan” Brown of Rhode Island won in 1936 and 1939. The three were rivals for many years.

During and following his running career Pawson worked in the Pawtucket Mills and later for the city of Pawtucket Parks and Recreation Department, retiring at age 75.

A more contemporary elite runner, Bobby Doyle, is also from Pawtucket.

Red Sox are in Town
Make a weekend of it and take in a Pawtucket Red Sox game on Saturday night at nearby McCoy Stadium—only blocks from the race finish. Their game, with the Indianapolis Indians that weekend, starts at 6:05 p.m. on May 3rd. Or finish your run and party and take in a Sunday game stating at 1:05 p.m. This famous Triple A team has produced many players for the major league Boston Red Sox, and the level of play is outstanding. The longest game in professional baseball history, 33 innings, was played by the Pawtucket Red Sox at venerable McCoy stadium.

Let’s Go
Sign up now for this half marathon—or for both! The first week in May is a beautiful time of year in Rhode Island, and the weather will likely be perfect--on race weekend the average high temperature is about 65, and average low 45 (mean 55); compare that with what New England is experiencing in February. Sunrise on Sunday morning, race day will be at 5:38; sunset will be at 7:48 p.m. Think spring and sign up now.

There are many cultural and historic sites, tremendous shopping, dining, and dozens of live entertainment spots. It is a great place for outdoor activities of any kind, whether running, biking, golfing, fishing or just sight-seeing. And it is ideal for racing. See you there!



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