The Harborside Half Marathon 2019 was the first cold race of the year.
The race took place in Newburyport, MA which is where the mighty Merrimack River enters the Atlantic Ocean. There were lots of open fields, farms and ponds where the breeze delivered the fear of Jack Frost deep into our souls!
Hearding of The Cats
The Harborside Half Marathon is part of the Melrose Running Club’s 2019 Racing Series. The idea of the series is to encourage people to run races they might not otherwise and to encourage new runners to get out there and do it.
The Harborside Half Marathon was David Doherty and Megin Hemmerling’s first half marathon!
There is also a social aspect to the series. Each month we get to hang out with a different mix of people. When there is a nice after-party like we had in Newburyport it’s that much more fun.
I always encourage the car pool to enhance the socializing and fun. Plus it seems crazy for each person to drive themselves to a race.
This time I drove up with Michele DeAngelo and got a ride back with David Doherty and Aine Lunney.
For this race many people had family or work obligations and some were already up north. So getting a car pool together was like hearding cats.
The party was on two levels at Michael’s Harborside and out on the deck. I knew some people were leaving right after the race and a few times I looked around and didn’t see anyone I knew. I didn’t have a car in the parking lot and was worried I was stranded!
As time went on more cats kept showing up! It seemed that every time I turned around there was another familiar face. I was far from stranded!
Running The Harborside Half Marathon
As Michele DeAngelo and I left the parking garage and headed to Michael’s Harborside to pick up our bib and shirt we saw David Bryson. He was parked on the street right in front of the restaurant!
The place was crowded but we were able to get in and out quickly and make a pit stop. We headed back to Michele’s car, put on our bibs and sorted our gear and clothes.
It felt like 20° but we knew we would warm up. We headed back to Michael’s for another porta pit stop and then hopped on the bus to the start area.
As we walked around the start area we saw most of the crew. David, Michele and I got out of the breeze by standing in a doorway for a while.
Here is a group shot before the race. We were freezing!
We could not tell what the announcer was saying and we didn’t hear a National Anthem. As we stood there we realized that we were way to close to the start line and about a thousand people were behind us.
I told everyone to just stand still when the crowd moves up for the start and we won’t be so close to the start anymore. It worked.
A few minutes before 9:00 I started my watch. By the time we had to start running I still didn’t have a good signal but hit the start button as I crossed the start line.
I ran the first mile or so with Aine Lunney and David Doherty. We were having a good conversation but eventually I realized I was talking to my self! David was running his first half and I’m getting ready to taper for the Philadelphia Marathon.
My first mile was 9:03 but all the rest were under 9:00 with six miles under 8:30. Overall I had a great run and my official finish was 1:50:35 for an average pace of 8:27. My best half marathon for 2019!
Harborside Half Marathon Course Description
Here is a slightly abbreviated course description from the Loco Running web site:
The Harborside Half marathon course offers runners a beautiful lollipop loop course with scenic views of rural fields, a reservoir, and nature preserves! The race starts at an industrial park in Newburyport (40 Parker Street) with the first mile on flat, wide, and easy roads through the park before heading out onto some of the prettiest roads in the area.
Just before Mile 3 you will run by the Town forest on your left. Then you will enter a spectacular country road that winds it’s way by the Artichoke Reservoir. At Mile 5, you’ll go right onto Indian Hill Road. Here you will pass many working farms and more reservation land. At mile 7 you will enter onto Middle Road which passes the Withers Parcel and over a very cool bridge back through the same Artichoke Reservoir.
Miles 9 to 12 will repeat Miles 1 to 3 and then you’ll venture down the Clipper City Rail Trail, a 1.3-mile paved running path through lush forests, all the way back to the finish at Michael’s Harborside.
Course Hills: This is a relatively easy course. The highest elevation is only 64 feet. There are no major hills and most hills are simply rollers that come and go quite easily.
This is an accurate course description. The scenery was great and the hills were gentle rollers. A lot of open space has been protected in this area and we did pass several active farms.
We may have started the race in an industrial park, but the open fields, thick forests and bodies of water made for a refreshing run for a city kid.
The after party was well done also. They were serving hot clam chowder in the parking lot! I know that’s too heavy for many people but I love the stuff and it was HOT! Just a bit of heaven in New England.
I walked through the parking lot a bit to work the lactic acid out of my legs. The Ipswich Ale Brewing van was in the lot so I stopped and spoke with the driver.
The van is a 1950-something contractor’s van that looked like an old milk truck. There were about a dozen taps protruding from the side of the van! Not in use today, but what a party they must be able to put on!
I had to walk, so I moved on and then went into Michael’s Harborside for warmth and cold beer! That first beer after a race always tastes so good!
Slowly the gang showed up. I didn’t take a count, but we had way more than the 6-8 runners I expected. We never did get everyone into one picture. Here are two from the party.
Run well my Friends!