CVS/pharmacy Downtown 5K, From Kids and Families to the Best in the World—Truly a Race for Everyone
This will be an awesome race, and a happening. And it includes kids’ races for every age group. The CVS/pharmacy Downtown 5K will run as the USA men’s National Championship for the third consecutive year. It also offers women an impressive cash prize structure, and includes one of the most extensive children’s running programs anywhere—19 races from kindergarten through high school.
Posted Thursday, 26 August, 2004
Many of the best runners in the world will run in Providence at the CVS/pharmacy Downtown 5K on Sunday, September 12, 2004. It will be a beautifully fast course through the streets of the capital. The world’s best will be chasing a total of $43,000 in prize money--for women and men. In addition to the main event, over 2,500 kids from throughout New England will compete in 19 separate races according to school grade level. This is an event for the entire family; make that extended family. Hey Coach, kids signing up as a school team run for Free—yes free, but they get all the goodies, too. Wow!
It will be the USATF National Men’s Championship for the third consecutive year. But it is so much more. The 5K will be open to women and men, and will include many of the best from all age groups. In addition to USATF teams, hundreds of corporate teams are expected. And there will be a separate 3K for high school teams, and individual girls and boy’s races for every school grade level from kindergarten through eighth grade. Yes, it will be a running happening. Kids races will start at 8:00 a.m., with the big race blasting off from the shadow of the capitol building at 11:15. The high school 3K will zip off at 12:15.
In the second week in September the weather in New England is generally ideal for racing. Given the quality of the world-class field, the times should be phenomenal, providing plenty of excitement in an Olympic year. It will be terrifically exciting for runners from the region—from the exceptionally competitive to beginners—to be able to race with the world’s best on the same course, in the actual event.
High school teams will draw inspiration from the National Championship 5K race, and then compete with each other in their 3K along some of the same course. Corporate teams will have a tremendous opportunity for a team-building, morale-boosting experience, as well as a chance to compete with other companies from throughout the region in an actual competitive event. No matter what level of running has been attained by kids and adults, this will be the place to be on September 12. Live music on the front lawn of the capitol, before and after the 5K race, as well as along the course will add to the exciting atmosphere.
The USATF Men’s Individual and Team National Championship
World-class runners will run this race, with all male American runners vying for the US National 5K crown (US citizens only). USATF Team competition will also be powerfully explosive, both for regional powers and national groups. This race includes an ideal combination of great organization, large cash prizes, strong competition, and a jet-fast course.
For the National Team Championship, individuals and clubs must be USATF registered and current for 2004. Cash prizes for individual American men will total $15,000, and will be awarded separately from the open competition. The first three places will earn $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 respectively, with cash prizes awarded 10 deep for US men. The top three will be awarded USA Championship medals.
Teams will be scored by adding the total time of the first five finishers (of a maximum of eight declared members), and the top three teams will receive national Championship medals. For more information on USATF rules and entry, visit the Website at www.USATF.org, or the New England Association at www.USATFNE.org.
Women’s Teams, Corporate Teams
Women’s teams are encouraged as well, and there will be plenty of corporate teams on hand. Many corporations sponsor their teams by providing equipment and paying entry fees (the race can bill the company to make this process easier)—a tremendous value for team building and for showing the company colors. These teams give the race a different dimension, with women’s and men’s open and masters. Each of the teams will require a minimum of three members for scoring, but any number can sign up. That applies to all divisions except the US Men’s USATF Championship, which requires a minimum of five, and up to eight on the team. All team members will be eligible for the individual age group prizes too. Be sure to see the Web site for team sign-ups.
Open Competition for All
This race, although a national Men’s Championship, is also open to international stars and to both genders and all age divisions. The top woman and man overall will net $5,000, with prizes going 5 deep (5th is $1,000). (Separate cash awards are given to the USA Men’s Champions.) Age group prizes are also significant. The first masters—women and men—will receive $750, with $500 for second and $250 for third. Seniors 5(50-59) will earn $150 for first $100 for second, and $50 for third, and veterans (60-60) the same). Wheelchair athletes finishing first will each receive $150.
The youth races are group according to school grade. Although this is common for school competition, it is rare for outside or road race events. Coaches who sign their team up on-line as a school can enter all kids on their team for free. There will be teams and individuals there from throughout New England and the Northeast. The energy will be building well before the 5K starts, as kids through eighth grade compete for their best time, and a fun time.
These races will start every few minutes in a marvel of top-notch coordination and race timing by Granite State Race Services. Children’s races begin with 100 meters (kindergarten or 5 and under) and go up to 1500 meters for middle school. Boys and girls races will be run separately according to grade. Kindergarten and first graders will run 100 meters, increasing to 800 meters for the fourth and fifth grades. Middle schoolers (sixth to eighth grade) will all run 1500 meters. Middle school teams are encouraged in each of the six divisions. All participants in the youth races receive a race T-shirt and a medalion, with trophies to the top five in all 18 divisions. Awards are presented almost immediately after each race. Teams with 25 runners or more (boys and girls combined) are eligible for a raffle award of $500, to be used for sports uniforms and equipment
High School 3K
And another program is geared for high school cross-country teams. The high school runners will use the Championchip timing system, just like the 5K, and every pre-registered student athlete will receive a T-shirt. Colorfully clad high school teams from throughout New England will enjoy the National Championship atmosphere and watch the championship 5K. Then they will race their own 3000-meter event over much the same course, showing their school colors. Teams with 25 runners or more (boys and girls combined) are eligible for a raffle award of $500, to be used for sports uniforms and equipment. A total of $5,000 will be awarded. This is the second year for the High School Challenge, a very innovative concept.
Brief Race History
This is the 15th annual running of the CVS/pharmacy Downtown 5K, which began in 1990. Thomas Kiplitan became the fifth consecutive Kenyan man to capture the victory with his 13:29 last year. The top seven men were under 14:00, and 28 men were under 15:00. Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco won in 1998 with a blast of 13:27; he is now a US citizen and world record holder in the marathon. Amazingly, he does not hold the course record here, however. That distinction goes to Ismael Kirui of Kenya, who set the mark in 1997 (13:20). Meb Keflezighi won the USATF National Championship in 2000 with a sterling 13:45, third overall. And Henry Dennis of Cincinnati, Ohio won the championship last year.
Olympic bronze medallist Lynn Jennings won the first four women’s contests. Olympic silver Medallist Elana Meyer of South Africa has won this event, as has Uta Pippig of Boston Marathon fame. Jane Ngotho (twice), Catherine Ndereba, and Esther Kiplagat have all been in the winner’s circle. Asmae Leghzaoui of Morocco set the course record with an outstanding 15:06 in winning the 2002 event. Leghzaoui and Meyer set national records in winning here, and five others have set 5K records for their nations as well.
How fast is this course? Eight women have raced under 15:20, and another 25 under 15:40, and 45 under 16:00. For the men five have been under 13:30, 29 under 13:40, and an unbelievable 68 under 13:50.
The big winners are the many local charities and non-profit organizations. Since CVS/pharmacy assumed sponsorship of the Downtown 5K in 2000, the race has donated over $300,000 to charity.
The Setting, the Sites
Sightseeing and shopping can become cross training in Providence. Participants and spectators alike should take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the area. There could not be a more interesting course in any downtown, in any city. The course travels along a course that is as dynamic as it is varied. There are revitalized retail shops, a bonanza called Providence Place Mall, a model for any downtown; there are historic canals, and 18th century homes and shops. And there is the State House. If you have never been to Providence, you are in for a terrific treat with something for every interest. History buffs will love the area, especially the state house. And there are many restaurants for those post race meals and refreshments.
One of the many great things about Rhode Island is you can get to anywhere in the state very quickly. In addition to tours of Providence, visitors can quickly and easily visit the famous mansions of Newport, walk the Oceanside cliffs, or stroll the beaches of South County. There are hundreds of scenic places to run and walk, and some unusual spots as well. Museums and parks abound, and are as varied as the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum in North Kingstown, to the Daggett Farm and Slater Mill of Pawtucket, also home of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
There is plenty of free parking near the state offices and the state capitol. And there is paid parking at the Providence Place Mall.
The State House alone is an attraction, and a national historical landmark. The dome is the fourth largest self-supported dome in the world, topped by the sculpture “Independent Man”. This beautiful building of gleaming marble contains the original colonial charter of 1663 from King Charles II; the large, priceless parchment is visible to all in its glass and steel vault. An array of famous paintings and other treasures, as well as famous battle flags from Rhode Island units are inspiring.
Volunteer for a National Championship Event
This event presents a terrific opportunity for anyone to get deeply involved in a National Championship event, and to get an up close and personal look at how such a national-class functions. It also provides tremendous satisfaction for those who help out and contribute to this most democratic of sports. Check the Website for great volunteer opportunities, and get involved.
Why do so many thousands want to be a part of these events in Providence? For many reasons, including the aura and participation with world-class caliber athletes as they speed through a flat and blazing fast course. The music and post-race celebrations are enjoyable—a real party atmosphere—for athletes, volunteers, friends, relatives, and spectators. Many in New England and the Northeast are thankful about getting two National Championships, including the women’s 10K in Boston, and will not be missing this one.
You Have Got to Go to Providence
Competition is fierce nationwide for these championship events, and winning it is a great credit to the organization and especially Race Director Charlie Breagy. Winning the national championship endorses and underlines the quality of this event. From registration under the large tents to the setting and the music, everything at the CVS/pharmacy Downtown 5K is world class. This 5K is one of the must-do events of the Northeast. In fact, runners are expected from all over the nation and the world. Those who can stay a few days and enjoy the atmosphere of Providence and the “Ocean State” will be very happy they did. All participants are in for a superlative and inspirational experience. For additional information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in Providence.