Race: Great Bay Half Marathon
Location: Newmarket, NH
Goal Time: 1:27:00
Actual Time: 1:28:59
This small race in New Hampshire is one of my Top 5 favorite races. I said that despite never figuring out what my Top 5 races were.
So here they are in no particular order:
Run the Goose 7k: Quirky little race in Gloucester on Labor Day. It runs concurrently with the Cape Ann 25k. The course is beautiful, most of it running through a town nature preserve. There is also a weird spot where you have to run over a damaged dam that includes a 3 foot drop down and then run back up. I ran it in 2011 and 2012. Tommy B. also thinks the 2011 shirt is the best race shirt ever.
Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler: One of the key Boston Prep races. Starting perfectly at the ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven, you can hop off the ferry and almost right into the race, like I did in 2013. Or, with the island off season (and demand for vacation housing through the floor in February) you can make a weekend of it like I did in 2012. The course rounds around the island past the gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs, down the coast and through the state forest in the center of the island. The "No Weenies" motto is both cute and valid. The race also has a Clydesdale category, which is always a plus.
MDI Marathon Relay: The Mount Desert Island Marathon was voted the second prettiest course by Runner's World the year I did the relay. The course through Acadia National Park in October and along the island's fjords is breathtaking. The "shirt" is a pull-over half zip jacket and the medal was large but not gaudy. I huge group of us went and rented a house. Scott, Bolt, SoRad, Evan and I all climbed Cadillac Mountain the next day. Kelsea and I ran it in 2011 and finished in 4th. As we each get better, one year the two of us have to go back and win it...
Blue Hills Races (Fox Trot 10 Miler): A spring race through the Blue Hills. The Colonial Road Runners have it perfectly organized (no "which way do I go?" problems prevalent in other trail races). While there are no t-shirts (which is fine to me now), the awards are really cool: home-baked bread for overall; homemade cookies for age-groups. I've run it in both 2010 and 2011 and I hope to return when it's not held the week before my spring marathon as it has the last two years.
Great Bay Half Marathon: I don't know why I like this one so much. Felix found it in 2010 and we ran it together; so, it is a race that predates my SRR days. And of course two years later Urvi and I ended up going up together (after two others had bailed last minute). It was the trip that started us dating so it is important for that. But the race itself is hard. It's hilly: tagline: "These legs climbed the hills of Great Bay." It's the week before Boston, so few New England distance runners do it.
This year made it the third time I've run Great Bay. This year I was looking to improve on last year's PR. I didn't. But, I still loved the race and the little town that gets involved with musicians and belly dancers through most of the course. Any year I don't run Boston, I'll be climbing the hills of Great Bay
Chris Smith did take 7th overall and won his division.