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home > community > viewpoint > a great time planned for the great race

A Great Time Planned for The Great Race
According to the Irish, there are two types of people; those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish. Similarly in the world of the Somerville Road Runners (SRR) there are two types of runners; those who will be running An Ras Mor and those who wish they did.

A Great Time Planned for The Great Race
The amazing Louise Rossetti

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The Somerville Road Runners

By Dave Camire
Posted Thursday, 5 February, 2004

An Ras Mor is Gaelic (the language of the Gaels) for “The Great Race.” It started seven years ago in Somerville prior to moving to the larger confines of the Asgard Pub in Cambridge. The course is one of the fastest around and the race is one of the best.

A Race for Everyone

The cost of gas to get to An Ras Mor – two bucks. The cost of entry to An Ras Mor – twenty bucks. Watching eighty-two year old Louise Rossetti win her age division all six years – priceless.

Besides the amazing Louise, An Ras Mor is the favorite of many of Greater Boston’s elite and non-elite. Last year’s race was won by Boston’s Brender Prindiville with an impressive time of 15:46 (5:05/mile) and Brookline’s Caroline Dobbyn with a time of 18:52 (6:05/mile).

The after race party will feature a hospitality tent hosted by Killian’s.


The fast times at last year’s event are most likely a direct result of the racecourse. “The course is pancake flat,” states Paul Clark who co-directs the event with fellow Somerville Road Runner Ed O’Connor. Starting from the Asgard on Massachusetts Avenue, the course loops through Central Square then skirts the eccentric surroundings of Harvard Square before making a forty-five degree turn and returning to the Asgard.

One of the hallmarks of this event is the great organization. The management of the race is in the very capable hands of O’Connor and Clark along with their merry band of Somerville Road Runners (SRR). Whether it is An Ras Mor, the Thanksgiving Day Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, July’s Summer Steamer, the free and fabulous Khoury’s Winter Challenge, or the Around the Lake 24-hour Relay you can always count on superb organization and a festive party afterwards when the Somerville Road Runners are involved.

After Race Fun

This year’s event is one of ten races that Killian’s is sponsoring around the country this St. Patrick’s Day. The other races will be held in Denver, Tampa, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Columbus and Baltimore.

The after race party will feature a hospitality tent hosted by Killian’s. “We are trying to create a beer garden atmosphere,” says O’Connor. To help meet that goal, George Killian, grandson of the founder of Killian’s, will be present to hand out awards and perhaps pour a few pints. With twenty-five kegs of Killian’s Irish Red to disperse, George could be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome by the end of the day. The after race party will also feature new and traditional Irish music plus a wide selection of traditional Irish comfort food.

“We think we offer the best bang for the buck,” O’Connor points out. He may be right because once the party in the hospitality tent ends, the action moves into the Asgard for the awards ceremony and more celebrating. Additional give-a-ways that includes high quality merchandize are tossed out to those in attendance. Rumor has it that last year’s prizes included several Boston Marathon jackets.

Each winner receives a handcrafted prize that resembles a honey pot or bean pot. At the time of this writing these unique awards did not have a name. If you would like to suggest a name, email your idea to Ed O’Connor at .

Prize money is offered to the top three overall male and female runners ($200 1st, $100 2nd, $50 3rd). New England Runner magazine is also sponsoring a special promotion called the “Team Tease.” They are offering a $250 bonus for male team under 64-minutes (combined times) and the first female team under 75-minutes (combined time).

Other Stuff

According to O’Connor some runners participate in the event just for the An Ras Mor t-shirt. These quirky race shirts are simple in design and contain little advertising making them unique on the New England racing circuit.

All of the day’s activities will center on the Asgard Pub and Restaurant. For those of you interested in Nordic mythology, Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds created by Odin and his brothers, and it was the name of the home of Aesir gods and goddesses. Yikes! I just like to think of the Asgard as a good place to get a pint while in Cambridge and the location of one of the best St. Patrick’s Day races around.

Race day parking will be available at the Star Market garage conveniently located behind the Asgard. A portion of the proceeds from the race will go to the Cambridge Family and Children Services who’s mission is to strengthen families and promote conditions that provide children and adolescents with stable homes and community environments.

So put March 14 on your calendar to meet at the Asgard in Cambridge, MA where everyone will be Irish. . . at least for a day.



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