The 24th Annual Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon—Club Race and Your Best Route to B.A.A. Boston
The 24th Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon are unique races within one of the great scenic areas of New England and the running hotbed, the Merrimack Valley. The Baystate Marathon provides your best chance to qualify for Boston (2014) on Race Weekend, October 21, 2012! It is "For Runners, by Runners" and the organization is top notch in every way.
Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012
The 24th annual Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon will blast off on October 21, 2012 in downtown Lowell. Both races start and finish at the beautiful state-of-the-art Tsongas Center, a very popular change last year so that the start and finish are close together. It also makes it much easier to enter and leave the finish area. Both the marathon and half marathon run double loops along the Merrimack River, and both are as fast as a course can be.
The Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon are Club Races in every sense of the word—yes, For Runners, by Runners. These races are brought to you by the Greater Lowell Road Runners, one of the best clubs in New England, and one with a very proud history of regional and national achievement.
Planned and executed with care by this non-profit club, Baystate is one of the few club marathons left.
It is not a corporate race, not a huge big city race, but it has everything necessary to be the ideal race. These folks have run marathons as well as organized many, many races, and they have been in your shoes as participants. They know what runners need, and what they want, since many of them ran their first BQ on this very course. And they will support you all the way.
The Greater Lowell Road Runners, legendary running club of New England, have a few sayings that really tell it all in the world of marathons: “For Runners, by Runners”, and “The Bridge to Boston Runs Through Lowell”. Both statements are very apropos because this flat, fast marathon course was designed to be a Boston Qualifier—and that was when qualifying required a 2:50 for men and 3:20 for women. Few other marathon courses qualify such a high percentage year after year. Get your PR and qualifying race at Baystate this October 21, 2012. Of course due to the registration process for the B.A.A. Boston marathon now opening and closing in September, this October qualification will be for the 2014 event.
Top Pick of Those Who Know
Runners World this past January included Baystate as one of their top 10 marathons to qualify for Boston. And more recently an article by venerable marathon man Hal Higdon listed Baystate as seventh among marathons funneling qualified marathoners to Boston. Of course number one on the list was Boston itself, and the top ten included New York and Chicago and other major players.
Baystate was number one among "Club Marathons", and they take great pride in the percentage of runners from their race who qualify--this past year it was 25% in spite of the new more difficult standards. In fact, those stricter standards make it all the more important for runners to consider Baystate, a proven fast course first designed 24 years ago for the very purpose of running a Boston qualifier. And the course today is very similar to the original throughout much of the route.
And perhaps Runners World and Mr. Higdon knew something the rest of us didn’t – Boston 2012 would be one of the hottest and most difficult Boston’s ever. It was a Boston in which runners who would normally re-qualify for the following year had an extremely difficult go of it, leaving many runners searching for places to re-qualify.
There are no guarantees in life (or Marathon running for that matter) but all signs indicate that runners at this year’s Baystate will be able to qualify Boston in 2014. In fact the organizers are so convinced of this, they have a couple new amenities just for you BQ seekers. First for all finishers, there will be a “Finisher Info” kiosk where you can just walk up with your race bib and instantly displayed on a monitor will be your finish time (gun and net), your place in the race and your division, any award you may have won AND if you ran a BQ! Talk about being a Bridge to Boston and For Runners by Runners.
The Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon are well organized and offer a terrific racing experience for all. As noted, Baystate is among the best and most likely marathons in the USA for qualifying for Boston. Qualification numbers have been consistently high since the origins of the event in 1989. They had a whopping 38% of the field qualify in 2008, 37% in 2010, and even with the new tighter standards in 2011, 25% of the field still qualified. Qualification numbers have been consistently high since the origins of the event in 1989. The running world has discovered what New Englanders have known for years: Baystate provides the best chance at qualifying for Boston. It was founded for that purpose, and has lived up to the concept every year.
This is a small city marathon and half marathon compared to the majors, but both are top notch events, an absolute must for runners of all abilities. This club is dedicated to giving back to runners and to the community at large.
Although they offer prize money and bring in terrific runners, Baystate remains focused on their primary constituency, runners trying to qualify for Boston from all over the region and the nation.
Both the marathon and half marathon will likely sell out—it is only a question of when. They have field limits set at 1,500 for the marathon and 1,500 for the half. However, since the word spread nationally on the high qualification percentage on this course, registration is in high demand.
Let’s Run 2012
Once again this year, the race will begin and end at the beautiful Tsongas Center, making pre-race and post-race comfortable for all. The Tsongas Center is set among the fascinating canals and mills that first made Lowell world famous. You can warm up and take a little cool down jog along the Riverwalk, and enjoy the scenic views of the canals and the Merrimack River rapids.
Other amenities include a bag check at the start, medals for all marathon and half marathon finishers, long sleeve tech shirts for pre-registered runners, B-tag Chronotrack timing, clocks every 5 miles (marathon course), and your free, all-you-can-eat pasta dinner, which is also open to friends and relatives for only $10.
The pasta dinner will be held at Lowell High School, 50 Father Morissette Blvd. from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, October 20. Check the Race Website for details on Expo, packet pick up, age groups, awards, directions, parking, race vitals, accommodations, course maps, photos and results, merchandise, contacts, volunteer opportunities, and many details, including lists of those registered: www.baystatemarathon.com
Expo and Packet Pick Up--Avoid the Lines
They have arranged for convenient packet pick up at the Expo both Friday and Saturday so you can avoid lines and hassles on race morning (advance pickup is highly recommended). This year's free Expo will be held at the Lowell High School. The Expo and packet pick up will be from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday the 19th, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. October 20, 2012. Packets are available on race morning at the Tsongas Center, but that is not advisable. Late registration may also be available there on race morning, but that seems unlikely because the races will sell out.
To register please go to http://www.baystatemarathon.com/
The marathon follows the Merrimack River through various neighborhoods and into North Chelmsford and Tyngsboro. It crosses the Tyngsboro Bridge and runs down the northeast side of the river along Pawtucket Boulevard, turning south to again cross the river on the Rourke Bridge at mile 13—the half way mark is just after runners come off the bridge to begin their second loop. The course crosses the Tyngsboro Bridge a second time and follows Pawtucket Boulevard again but this time passes the Rourke Bridge heading east. It crosses the river a fourth time on the way back to Tsongas Center. (There are excellent detailed descriptions of both courses on the Race Website.)
All finishers of both races will receive a medal. Awards and personalized award plaques will be presented to the top three overall female and male winners in each race, as well as the top three female and male winners in the following age groups: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; and 70+.
The Baystate Marathon offers thousands in cash prizes, plus bonuses ($250) for marathon event records. Dave Dunham holds the men’s mark at 2:21:36 and Mary Ellen Kelly’s 2:45:53 is the time to beat for women. Prizes go five deep for open, three deep for Masters and Seniors, and two deep for Veterans.
Okay, so this is where you want to run, this is where you should run. You better get your training in place and set those goals. To make it real, get registered now while there are openings. The big demand is coming for qualifiers, especially with the brutally hot day at Boston combined with the new and tougher standards. Yes, the best route to Boston is through Lowell, so let's do it.
For additional details please go to http://www.baystatemarathon.com/