The Westford Road Races—5K, 10K and Family Fun in Beautiful Westford, Massachusetts
The town of Westford will host their road races for the 14th year to benefit the Westford Charitable Foundation. They will run the afternoon of May 5, 2013. The challenging and scenic 10K, the 5K and Family Fun Run are very well organized and enjoyable in the historic, charming town center at the Village Green.
Posted Wednesday, 3 April, 2013
Both the 5K and 10K offer a challenging and terrific loop through the charming town center and rural stone wall-lined roads on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Festivities begin in earnest with the popular Family Fun Run at 2:00 p.m., followed closely by the 5K beginning at 2:20 p.m., and finally the 10K blasts off at 2:25 p.m. There is no need to wake up early for this one. Bring the entire family and all your friends to this happening in convenient Westford, just west of Lowell and only a little over a mile off Interstate 495.
There will be an event that everyone can participate in for family fun and exercise--an outstanding 10K and 5K, both USATF-sanctioned and certified, as well as a Family Fun Run with ribbons and surprise treats for kids. And the enjoyment only begins with the running; there will be post race celebrations on the Village Green, with refreshments and music, as well as other surprises. What a lovely time of year—first week in May—for this town on the hill that is famous for orchards and strawberries. In fact, there is an Apple Blossom Festival in May and a Strawberry Festival in June.
The Westford Road Race 5K once hosted the New England Grand Prix and New England Championship, so you know they are primed and ready for an outstanding event. Excitement is building in Westford. Be sure to get your application taken care of before April 19 (original Patriots Day) for your discount.
Both races have cash prizes for the victorious woman and man, and second and third place women and men win valuable gift certificates. There are two youth divisions and 10-year age groups for awards--now going up to 70 plus. Yankee Timing Company will provide immediate and accurate results with their Chronotrack bib timing systems—net times as well as overall time with computer mats at start and finish. Please visit the Race Website for details on registration, travel and directions, contacts, previous results, photos, course overviews, sponsors and more: www.westford.com/roadrace/
Westford Road Races have outstanding organization and a record of success. The routes of both the 5K and 10K races are mostly closed to traffic, and both are chip timed. Both are USATF certified, of course. They boast a super post race spread of food, along with unique T-shirts (first 600 preregistered), and music on the historic town common where all races finish. There will be games and activities for the kids. Those little runners are always so proud of their accomplishments in the fun run.
Westford is easily accessible, and the village center is only slightly more than a mile off Interstate 495 (Exit 32); it is also accessible from Route 3—again Exit 32. And yet the area where the races are held seems much more rural and remote, with historic buildings and colonial architecture. Standing on the town common, you would never know you were near the epicenter of the high tech industry, with Westford itself the home of several tech companies. But the ancient roadways on which the races will be contested were originally built in colonial times. The stone walls, so prevalent on this course, were the efforts of those first colonial farmers—many of them Minutemen.
"What a wonderful town, and what a terrific job they do putting on these races--gotta love it."
Westford was originally part of Chelmsford, settled in 1635; it was incorporated as a separate town in 1729, when as West Chelmsford it became large enough to go independent. In addition to Groton and Chelmsford, Westford is bordered by Tyngsboro to the north and Carlisle, Acton, and Littleton to the southeast through southwest.
Race Headquarters—Abbot School
Registration, packet pick up (11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), and race starting lines—will be at the Abbot Elementary School at 25 Depot Street, Westford, 01886, just north of the village center and the town common. Abbot, by the way, is an historic name in Westford. The Abbot Worsted Company was the first in the nation to use camel hair to make yarn. And Joel Abbot, for whom the school is named, was a naval hero during the War of 1812, and was Commander of the Boston Navy Yard. Two US Naval ships have carried the name USS Abbot.
Another interesting fact about Abbot School—it has a weathervane that was made by Paul Revere, whose son attended Westford Academy. The original Academy building is now Westford Museum, and the current Westford Academy is the Public High School.
There will be plenty of parking at or near Abbot School, but you should get there early for this unusual mid afternoon start, because the roads will close at 1:45 p.m. There will be plenty of activity with the family Fun Run stepping off at 2:00 p.m., followed by the 5K at 2:20, and the 10K at 2:25.
Excellent Race Course
The Westford 5K is a scenic, USATF-certified clockwise loop course that begins on Fisher Way near the Abbot School, a wide, traffic free starting area. The 5K runners start at 2:20 p.m. heading south toward the town green. The 10K, starting five minutes later, will begin by heading the opposite direction on Fisher Way, but will also head to and by the Village Green, also on a counter-clockwise loop through Graniteville and Forge Village. All three events will be on closed, traffic-free courses, part of an exciting town happening.
Both the 5K and 10K head toward the town common—quintessential New England—passing the Community Center and Town Hall on Main Street, then the 5K splits left on Lincoln Street, after which it crosses to Hildreth Road. There is a right turn on Flagg Road at 1.62 miles, heading northwest. At 2.57 miles the course joins Forge Village Road, which then becomes Main Street. Then there is a fast, straight finish to the front of the J.V. Fletcher Library adjacent to the northern tip of the triangular town common.
The 10K follows some of the same rural roads, but is primarily a counter-clockwise loop which splits right at the common, heads west on Forge Village Road, followed by a left on Cold Springs, a right on Patten, and a hard left on Concord Road (Route 225). The half way mark is just beyond the turn onto Concord Road. There is a left on Hildreth at 4.15, and another left on Flagg a half mile later. From the turn on Flagg the course is exactly the same as the last 1.5 miles of the 5K, and to the same finish line with the crowd at the green.
"Man, they have it all together, and what a spot for a race finish."
Westford village center sits on a ridge, so upon leaving the center there is some downhill, and upon returning to the common there will be a general up slope. But after topping the long hill the last quarter is generally flat and fast. Despite the challenging rolls and hills the records are impressive: Lindsay Willard of Medford set a new 10K mark last year at 37:06, finishing third overall. She broke her own mark of 39:43 set in 2011. And Patrick Moulton recorded the men’s record with 32:11 in 2006. Nate Jenkins ran 14:50 in the 2008 5K race, and Heidi Westerling netted the women’s 5K record the same year with 17:01.
Kids Win Too
After the Family Fun Run from Abbot School to the common, kids will receive a ribbon and a special treat and prize. And there will likely be some other healthy goodies and fun activities for them on the green.
Tradition and Folklore
Westford has a very interesting history, and is an inviting, attractive town with great traditions. Once a thriving producer of granite, specialized worsted yarns, and fruit, it has become part of the high tech universe. But the charm of the small New England village remains. And that charm is on display with these race courses.
Tradition has it that the area was visited by Scottish explorers in the year 1398, well before Columbus landed in the Caribbean. There is a stone on the town common that some claim is the burial marker for one of the Scots. Another folk tale has Paul Revere riding through town on his famous adventure on April 18-19, 1775. He did not, but there is that unique weathervane on Abbot and there is a bell cast by Revere in the Westford Academy school lobby.
The Westford Road Races are creating a new kind of tradition, but what an interesting locale. For further information visit the race website www.westford.com/roadrace/ or contact the Race Director at LCogliano@lycos.com.
Westford is Special
There are many 5K’s in the New England region, but if you like competition and excitement on a beautiful course, this is one you should not miss. And there are not enough 10K’s, but this one has everything you desire in this distance with a challenging but fair course. These races are well organized, well attended, and well managed, and you will enjoy everything about the race as well as the post race celebration. This event makes an ideal May challenge no matter which distance you choose. But whether you participate in the 5K, the 10K, or the Family Fun Run, Westford is definitely the place to be on May 5th.