Cox Providence Rhode Races—Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K
Big time races in a world-class city, there is something for everyone at the Cox Providence Rhode Races running in Rhode Island on May 4th, 2008. There is a NEW spring marathon in New England.
Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2008
There is a new major marathon for the national hotbed of road racing. Spring marathons are a New England tradition; but there have been few options, especially for southern New England. Now comes a top flight race weekend in a world class city: The Cox Providence Rhode Races, Cox Sports Marathon, Willow Tree Half Marathon, and New Balance 5K www.RhodeRaces.com.
With top notch sponsorship, these races will be national class right out of the gate. And they are running largely in downtown Providence, and the start lines and finish lines are at the two Providence campuses of Johnson and Wales University, another major sponsor and club of the late Rhode Island running legend Bobby Doyle. Bobby Doyle, who passed away recently, was a member of the organizing committee for these innovative new races. He will be greatly missed by all in the running running community as a friend and dedicated, fierce competitor; he will be especailly missed in his adopted state of Rhode Island.
These races will be instrumental in raising money for charities as well, including the now famous Leukemia Lymphoma Team in Training, Cox Charities, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Trooper Doyle Fund. Pick a distance and make plans to visit Providence the weekend of May 2-4. Enjoy a “Weekend of Family Fun.” All races will have chip timing and all three courses will be USATF certified. The Cox Sports Marathon will be a 2009 BAA Boston qualifier.
These races are runner friendly. The Cox Sports Marathon will have a six-hour time limit, and the Willow Tree Half Marathon will have a walker generous 4.5 hour time limit for completion. And in addition, there will be television coverage by Cox Communications.
When we say races for everyone that is not an exaggeration; they have three different races, but also competition on many levels. There will be corporate teams, as well as teams and divisions for fire departments and police departments. The top three score on teams, plus there will be a Fire and Police Cup Competition, with the top 25 of each scoring in total time for the annual Cup. Additionally, there will be the “Battle of the Colleges”, Providence being a college town and home to Johnson and Wales University, Brown University, Providence College, and Rhode Island College. And there is the innovative “Battle of the Health Clubs/Gyms”. These races provide the framework for a fun-filled weekend with friends, family, and teammates in one of America’s most interesting and historical cities.
And if friends and family cannot or do not wish to compete, they can still participate as volunteers and enjoy the event from a different perspective. Please see the Race Website for additional race details, volunteer opportunities, excellent course maps, directions, attractions, hotel accommodations, and transportation. Go to www.Rhode Races.com.
Both the marathon and half marathon will start at the Harborside Boulevard (off Narragansett Boulevard, Route1) Campus of Johnson and Wales. The 5K starts, and all three races finish, at the Weybossett Street “Downcity” campus of Johnson and Wales in the Arcade Shops District. All races start at 9:00 a.m.
Just the start and finish areas alone are tremendously interesting. The Harborside Campus of Johnson and Wales houses the famous Culinary Laboratory building (adjacent to the start) as well as the Culinary Archives and Museum, 315 Harborside Boulevard where visitors can explore the past, present, and future of all things related to cooking and baking. The museum’s 25,000 square feet gallery houses numerous exhibits of interest to all. Near the finish on Weybossett Street you will find the main campus of Johnson and Wales University, including the new TACO building, and other interesting university facilities, plus the famous Greek Revival Arcade, 65 Weybossett, said to be the oldest enclosed shopping mall in the country dating from 1828. It is now home to specialty stores and restaurants. And nearby is the historic Round Top Church, Classical Revival from 1810, and site of many historic events. Also on Weybossett (#220) is the Providence Performing Arts Center.
The marathon and half marathon both offer terrific tours of other areas of the city. They run together until the 8.5 mile mark, and then split as the half heads generally southwest toward Weybossett Street, while the marathon course heads north into Pawtucket before returning south and southeast through the City of East Providence before and heading to “Downcity” (downtown) and the finish.
A Lot to See and Do in Providence
Sightseeing and shopping can be 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 courses travel along historic and modern streets that are as dynamic as they are varied. There are revitalized retail shops, a bonanza called Providence Place Mall, a model for any downtown; there are historic canals, the Riverwalk, 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 the “Mile of History” on Benefit Street where there is a concentration of original Colonial and early Federal homes and other buildings. And there are many restaurants for those post race meals and refreshments.
A monument on Guano Street (between Power and Williams Streets) marks the site where founder Roger Williams first arrived after spending the winter with the Wampanoags who gave him the land to establish Providence. This was not, despite the name, a religious colony. It was quite the opposite, a place where there was “freedom for the souls of men”, and only civil laws—the foundation of the separation of state and church. Williams is buried at Prospect Terrace, Cushing and Congdon streets, marked by a 14-foot statue overlooking “Downcity”. The Roger Williams National Memorial is located at 282 North Main Street (site of the original settlement).
There is so much history and so many places of interest we can only list a few: Old State House, 1762, where RI declared Independence in May, 1776 (150Benefit Street); Providence Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries and cultural centers in the USA (251 Benefit); 1774 Market House (Providence Tea Party); Trinity Repertory Theater, 201 Washington St.; Waterplace Park and Cove Basin (1848); the Riverwalk; Brown University; John Hay Library; First Unitarian Church, 1816 (Benefit and Benevolent Streets); Museum of Art, RISDI 224 Benefit); and much, much more.
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 are on display.
The State of Rhode Island, officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, offers a tremendous variety of running opportunities. Known as the Ocean State, as well as Little Rhody, a surprising number of its 1,214 square miles are open to recreation, and that includes some terrific running trails and bike paths—some that will take your breath away.
The very northern portion of the marathon goes into Pawtucket, home of Slater Mill and the beginnings of industrial hydro power and the earliest water powered cotton mill, the first operations of the Industrial Revolution; it is also home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the AAA affiliate of the World Champion Boston Red Sox.
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, and the Art Museum at Rhode Island School of Design.
But you will be well served to simply spend time in Providence. And if you wish you do not even have to drive. The Amtrak and MBTA Commuter Rail Station is right in downtown directly below the State Capitol, and you can take advantage of the convenient schedules form Boston or New York. Theodore Francis Green Airport is close to the city as well.
During the weekend of the event there will be activities tied to the celebration. There are first class amenities for everything. The event has extremely strong sponsorship from many companies; this support allows the event to be managed extremely well for all participants and make a high impact.
Be sure to visit the Riverwalk, over a mile of paved walkways and several acres of parkland that runs through downtown and gives a romantic atmosphere. The weekend activities will do a good job of showcasing Providence and the growth it has made over the past decades.
You Have Got to Go to Providence
The Cox Providence Rhode Races will run for the first time on May 4, 2008, but we can already see signs the they will be true classics. Terrific organization and committed, supportive sponsorship, commitment to charities, an ideal date and innovative ideas, not to mention awesome venues and facilities, will make these races big hits with the New England running community and well beyond. I can’t wait to participate. For more information please visit the Race Website at www.RhodeRaces.com, or call the race hotline at 401-437-8881. See you in Providence.