Road to Boston SLR 5

A great long run on The Road to Boston 2023. The weather was perfect, and I learned a few lessons along the way!

The Road to Boston continues!

I didn’t write about last week’s Sunday Long Run Number 4.

That was a hilly 14.6 mile slog over well trod roads. I climbed the equivalent of 70 flights of stairs or 754 feet and achieved an average pace of 10:11.

We ran the Fells hills in both directions, up Highland Ave and hills on other roads that Jim tossed in just to keep it interesting!

My hamstrings were tired and sore and my quads were maxed. On Tuesday night I cut my club run to 4 miles and my PT had to work on my knee Wednesday night.

Sunday Long Run 5

This is a pre-run group photo that Bobby Taylor posted on FB. I counted 39 people. A few are water stop volunteers, but I’m pretty sure we missed a few.

The weather was as good as it get’s in January for running: above freezing, no rain and no wind. Who could ask for more? How about a great group of people to run with and great support from Bobby and the team of volunteers he pulls together each week? Life is good!

This is Bobby’s photo with his stats, a nice 9:04 pace to run 6.53 miles in under an hour.

Road to Boston SLR 5,January 29, 2023

I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest so I started first. One of the new runners who I didn’t know soon caught up to me but didn’t respond when I asked him how he was doing.

But I did run the first two miles with Marty Hergert, our club President. We had a good chat about club goings-on and life in general.

Just after mile two we turned onto Main Street in Saugus and our first water stop. This one was mainly for the short runners, but I stopped in for a drink anyway.

My knee was acting up and I was hoping the brief stop would alleviate the pain. It usually does, but this time it just went down a notch and not away.

Main Street Saugus heading out to Wakefield High is deceptively hilly. They are long and not really steep. In a car you would barley notice them as hills.

Just after mile four we reached Wakefield High and the first official water stop for the long-runners. Paul Locke was there and on my return stop Linda Field had joined him.

I had a nice chat at both stops, but my goal was to keep the stops short. I won’t be stopping during the Boston Marathon, hopefully! And your muscles always tightened up when you stop.

Running Breakheart Reservation

Leaving the high school lot we hit our next hill in about 100 yards. It’s not a bad hill, but we had many more in front of us.

I knew that Dorota Bulik was right behind me and expected her to catch me on the hill. But I was all alone most of the way through Breakheart Res.

We always loose count how many hills are in there and we always joke that they added a new one since last time.

Depending on what you call a hill there are four or five hills. Several of them are undisputedly hills. The third or forth hill climbs 80 feet in less than a quarter mile. Yeah, that’s a hill!

On each hill I rose up an ran on my toes at a quicker tempo and shorter gait. It seemed to work as Dorota didn’t catch me until that last hill, and she’s a much better runner than I am.

We both used the facilities at the ranger station and headed out.

Dorota used the flatter terrain on the outbound side to take off. After the water stop at the high school she took a short cut back.

But I did catch up to Joe Winslow before we left the res. and even saw Jeff Rushton at the water stop.

I left the water stop and didn’t see anyone until I got back to the parking lot.

Running it in

The water stop was at about 7.5 miles. It felt great knowing I only had five miles to go and I didn’t feel like I was going to die!

As I ran down Water Street/Route 129 in Wakefield I noticed many new buildings and renovations. It always amazes me how many small businesses there are. And how much construction is going on in every town.

Just after hitting mile 9 I reached Wakefield Center. Traffic was light and very few people were out.

My goal this week was to run a 10 minute average pace. My watch said I was at 10:04 pace as I ran down Main Street in Wakefield.

Everything felt pretty good so I decided to give it a push. Nothing too crazy but mile 10 came it at 9:53 and the last 2.54 miles were all under 9:45.

It was great to see my overall pace tick back to 10 minutes and then tick down to 9:57.

My last 2.54 miles were quicker than my first three miles, which is great.

It’s awesome to get near the end of a run and still have some juice.

Last week I was talking to Bobby Taylor about doing some speed work. I felt I needed some to improve my marathon pace, but was afraid of aggravating something. Over the past two years just about every part of my body has ached at one time or another. I’d rather run Boston slow than not at all!

Bobby suggested doing strides. As he explained them, you basically do your normal run but add speed surges for short distances. He does them near the end of a long run and it really helped him last year.

As I ran through Wakefield towards Melrose I ran four strides using light poles as my begin and finish markers.

I did these when the road was flat. No sense getting too crazy.

What I found interesting was that after I strided for probably 100 to 200 feet, I had to slow myself down. My legs wanted to keep up a faster pace. Not the stride pace but probably 30-45 seconds faster per mile than my goal pace of 10 even.

That was pretty cool.

It was also pretty cool that I didn’t feel like I was going to die or had to stop. And nothing broke! And my breathing hardly changed at all.

It was very encouraging and I will be incorporating this technique into a lot of my runs from now on.

One of the benefits of running alone is that you can do something like that and not kill your running buddy.

It’s hard to have two people feel the energy at the same point in a run. While I hate to slow someone down, I also hate beating the shit out of myself to keep up. Sometimes you have to be big enough of a man to let the other guy go.

Finishing Week Five

I felt pretty good running the last mile heading to the parking lot. This week was a shorter run, but I think it was just as hilly per mile. Fewer miles just meant less elevation.

When I got back to the parking lot I saw Erik Cann. He’s been running with us most weeks and usually I see him off in the distance!

He told me that he wanted to join our club and we talked about the logistics.

After we hung out a bit he headed to Café Nero and I headed to CVS to pick up a few items including something good to drink.

Running Stats

The total distance for me this week was 12.54. Erik had over 11 on his Strava app. We compared maps and we ran the identical route so we were both scratching our heads on that one.

My heart rate peaked at 178 and that was when I was running the first couple of hills in Breakheart. I hit 172 during one stride late in the run and my average was 156 bpm.

Garmin said “this activity had enough intensity to provide a stimulus to increase your maximum aerobic capacity. It increased your high aerobic training load.” It also said my aerobic load was 5.0 on a scale of 0-5.

While it’s good to push it and max out once in a while. The app said 5.0 is “overreaching” and that this can become harmful without enough rest between these types of runs.

Noted!

But my anaerobic level was 2.0 which is at a “maintaining” level. This probably came about during my strides. These higher intensity efforts should only last 10 to 120 seconds. And my strides were probably less than one-minute each.

During my weekly runs I think I’ll start adding longer strides now that I know the parameters.

Overall, it was a great run, I learned a few things and I feel like it was a benefit to my training.

How was your run this week?

Andy

Saturday Long Run January 14, 2023

A Saturday Long Run

This week the Melrose Running Club held their Holiday Party on Saturday night, so we had our Sunday Long Run on Saturday. Some people don’t like to stay out all night and then go for a long run.

Since this is the third week of our program, the Saturday Long run dropped down to 10.5 miles. After the hilly 12.5 miles the previous week, it was a welcome distance.

Last week, my Garmin showed that I climbed the equivalent of 77 flights of stairs on that run. And my legs certainly felt it!

This week we left our starting area behind Brueggers on Main Street in Melrose and headed north on Main Street. Somehow, we forgot to get a group photo!

This Saturday the temperature was around 33F with an occasional breeze and a constant, light drizzle. I think the precipitation kept our group small, probably 25 people?

The first mile out I ran a 10:57 pace in an effort to warm up and see what was going to hurt this time. And I did run a bit with Marty Hergert this week!

Over miles two and three the group settled into groups of runners by pace and I ended up running with Joe Winslow and Dan Slattery. We ran around 10:15 over those two miles and my left knee was bothering me.

This early in my Boston Marathon training, this had me a little worried. Knee pain has been a constant issue but I have learned a few tricks.

When I first started back to running, my PT would have me walk four minutes and then run one minute and slowly progress to running a 5K without walking over the course of about five weeks.

When I got to the point in this process where I was running more than walking, almost every time my knee would hurt. So the walking breaks were welcomed.

What I discovered by doing this progression was that often my knee pain would go away after I took the walk break. Even if I did more than the usual pre-run warm up my knee would still hurt. But walking almost always made it feel better.

So when we got to our first water stop at about 5K I took an extended walking break to the men’s room at the local McDonalds.

Sunday Long Run number 3, Boston Marathon training
Zelia Magliozzi photo

Don Cranley is the guy in the red jacket next to me in the above photo. We both have a Boston Marathon number through our club and both really needed to get this run in.

Don wasn’t really feeling it, so I told him I’d catch up and run with him after my pit stop.

Now, Don might not have been feeling it, but it took me almost four miles to catch up to him at the bottom of Lake Q. I ran all of four of those miles well under a 1o-minute pace. So he was cruising along.

Finishing the Saturday Long Run

As I ran down North Ave in Wakefield I could see Don’s red jacket way down the road. And I could see him taking walking breaks. When I caught up to him he asked me which direction to go in, so I think he had been checking the map on his phone.

This is the second week that someone has asked me for directions, which is generally not a good thing to do. Fortunately, I know these courses very well and they are some of our easiest.

But if you add in a few rotaries and intersections with five roads and poor signage, I could get you lost!

As we ran down Main Street in Wakefield almost every driver let us cross the street and were just great in general. I think both of us really appreciated that.

When we got back to the water stop Bobby Taylor was there manning the stop and the only person there. Then Zelia showed up and started snapping pics. Just like she did last week.

We were about seven and a half miles into the run at this point. I didn’t feel great but my back and left knee were manageable. And while my cardio wasn’t in marathon condition, my breathing was comfortable.

After a minute or so, Don and I headed out for the last 5K of the run.

Don was kind of struggling and he told me later that I helped push him along. He was only going to do the half distance.

Soon after we left the water stop we hit a small hill and both of us felt it, but we kept on going and talking.

It’s always a good sign when you can talk and run!

At around mile nine Don said he had to walk and that I should go on. We’ve all been there and it’s no slight to run on ahead of someone during a training run. Especially when you are almost done.

I ran in the last approximately 1.7 miles by myself around a 10 to 10:30 pace. It felt comfortable and my pain was manageable.

My total distance was 10.81 miles at an average of 10:02 which was the pace I wanted on this run. Now I want to try and run this pace at the longer distance next week.

I had to do some club business in town after the run, so I didn’t hang out for coffee afterwards. Maybe next week.

I hope your training is going well,

Andy

New England Valentines Races 2023

Looking for a Valentine’s Day race, or something close to it?
Check out these local races.

Looking for a New England Valentines race for 2023?

In New England we believe in getting outside, even in the middle of winter. New England Valentines Races are a great excuse to go out for a run with your somebody special.

Massachusetts Valentines Races

Cupid’s Chase 5K

11 February | Saturday | 10AM | Wakefield, MA

Cupids Chase 5k, wakefield valentines 5k, february 5k

The 10th Annual Cupid’s Chase Valentines Race is in person for 2023.

Registration is: $35 for individual runners and they encourage running club participation.

100% of proceeds from the 5k road race will be donated to the National MS Society and Neurofibromatosis Northeast. Over the past eight years this race has raised more than $50,000.

I ran The Cupid’s Chase in 2017 in Wakefield, MA.

2022 Race Results

2020 Race Results

Bradford Valentine Road Race

TBD February | Saturday | Bradford, MA

Valentines Day 5K road race, Bradford

The Bradford Valentines Road Races went virtual for 2021, was cancelled in 2022, and I cannot find any details for 2023.

The 5 Miler should return to an in-person race in 2022.

2021 registration was $35 for either the 5 Miler or 6K race.

Registration included:

Customized race bib for download
30th anniversary commemorative long sleeve shirt
Custom participant medal and ribbon
Sampler box of chocolates
Valentine flower
Personal online photo album
Virtual online leaderboard results
Access to members only Facebook group
Personalized digital finisher’s certificate for download

Paddy Kelly 10K Road Race

5 February | Sunday | 11:00 AM | Brockton

This race was cancelled for 2021 but came back for 2022 and for 2023 it has gone from a 5-miler to a 10K. And it’s close enough to Valentine’s day!

The race is based out of Harry’s Westgate Pub and Grill in Brockton. Race start is at D.W. Field Park about a quarter miles away at 11:00 AM.

This race is produced by the Colonial Road Runners and registration is $35. First 250 to register are guaranteed a gift. All runners will enjoy hot chili/pasta and one complementary beer or soft drink.

Age group and top finishers receive awards. This race does not provide a finisher’s medal to all runners.

2022 Race Results

2020 Race Results

Valentines Race in Vermont

Cupid 5K

? February | Saturday | 9:00 AM | Shelburne, VT – no details for 2023

Registration was $30 and includes finisher’s medal for all finishers. Registration is limited to 100 runners.

T-shirts were available for $15.00.

Racevermont.com will be donating a percentage of the net income from this race to Healing Winds and the Cancer Patient Support Foundation.

2022 Race Results

2020 Race Results

Valentines Races in Connecticut

Bob and Peg Andrulis Memorial Sweetheart Run

11 February | Saturday | 11:00 AM | Litchfield, CT

This USATF certified 5 mile course (#CT13035JHP) starts at the Litchfield Community Center at 11AM.

There is also a 3 mile walk which also begins at 11AM.

Registration is $30, Kids 10 and under are $10.00, folks 80+ are FREE!

Proceeds benefit the Litchfield Community Center. Long sleeve shirts guaranteed for the first 150 registrants.

Cupid Made Me Do It! 2 Miler

12 February | Saturday | 10:00 AM | Willimantic, CT

The Cupid Made Me Do It is a 2 mile run or walk to be held in downtown Willimantic. This “urban scramble” will be held as a part of the Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival and will benefit the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry.

Valentine’s Day fancy dress is appreciated and applauded.

The first 250 registered runners receive a free Cupid Gloves or a FANDANA.

Everyone registered by February 3rd receives a shirt. There are age-group awards and team awards – so bring your friends!

Registration is $25 and $10 for 12 and under.

2020 Cupid Made Me Do It Results

IRIS Run for Refugees 5K

12 February | Saturday | 10AM | New Haven, CT

Registration includes their iconic Run for Refugees shirt, post-race food and entertainment.

Registration is open at $33 for adults and $27 for students.

IRIS served more than 2,000 immigrants last year and welcomed over 280 newly arrived refugees! The mission of IRIS is to enable refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. Refugees are men, women and children who fled their countries of origin due to persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religious belief, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

The Road to Boston SLR 2

Celebrating twenty years since my first training run, I ran the second Sunday Long Run with the Melrose Running Club and guests.

The Road to Boston has begun with the second Sunday Long Run. The Melrose Running Club has been sponsoring these Sunday runs for the past twenty years and all runners are invited.

The Road to Boston SLR 1

Since January 1st was the first Sunday of 2023 we didn’t have an organized club run that day. Many of us ran various New Year’s Day races, such as the Hangover Classic in Salisbury Beach.

Because I was running a New Year’s Day race I decided to do my first long run on December 30th.

For that run I started at my house, ran through Malden and out on the North Spur bike trail to Saugus.

This route in almost entirely flat, so it was a great way to start ramping up the miles. I ran 10.3 miles that day at a comfortable 10:05 pace.

Idle Hands Craft Ales Vienna Lager - Emelyn, Brew Pub
Idle Hands Photo

On the way back I stopped in at Idle Hands Brewing and had a nice half liter of Emelyn, their Vienna Lager. I also had a nice conversation with the bar tender, John. I was the only customer in the bar!

The Road to Boston SLR 2

January 8th was the first official Melrose Running Club Sunday Long Run. And since it is technically the second week of Boston Marathon training, we ran the week 2 route which was 12.5 for the long run and 7.1 miles for the half distance. 

I know, not great math there. But when you’re not up for almost a half marathon, 7.1 still feels like half of the full. Or a short run.

Group photo on the 2nd Melrose Running Club Sunday Long Run
Julie Galvin Photo

We had at least 44 people show up for this chilly run. I think a few more people joined us after this photo was taken.

When we started it was 24F and it really felt like it. We were lucky in that there was no wind or rain. That makes a big difference in the comfort level.

In this photo you will notice that several of us have our hands stuffed under our arms. Even with gloves my fingers were freezing.

It was so cold that I headed out with the first runners. I knew I would warm up eventually. And if I was in the lead pack all the faster people would catch up and I’d get to talk to everyone. I’d also not be at the end of the pack.

At mile one my fingers and toes were feeling a little better, but I was trying to figure out if they were warming up or if I was loosing feeling in my fingers and toes!

At mile 1 we were close to the intersection of West Wyoming Ave and the Fellsway East. The road was clear so we crossed the Ave like a stampeding heard of beast breathing frost into the air.

At the intersection we took a left and headed for the hills of the Fellsway East.

At this point I began to adjust my running pace and approached the hills by my self. I’ve been doing this twenty years and I know what running hills can do to you if you’re not prepared.

As I made my way up the first hill our former club President, Bobby Taylor, caught up to me.

He noticed that I was wearing trail shoes on a road run and asked if I always wore them for road runs.

I told him I have been for the past few months.

I started wearing the Brooks Cascadia shoes about 10 years ago. At the time I was looking for a shoe to keep my feet warm in the winter. At the time these shoes featured Gore-Tex which helps insulate the shoe.

Trail shoes are generally stiffer and heavier than road shoes. The outsoles are designed to give you extra traction and support. They do not flex as much and are good for landing on stones and tree roots.

But they are stiffer, don’t have as much cushion, and are very loud on the road. Like many runners, Bobby prefers more cushioning. I agreed that I should pick up a pair of road shoes to use on nice days. It’s good to rotate shoes and the Cascadia are a bit much for a road run.

Eventually Bobby moved along and the group prepared for and made our move across the Fellsway so we would be ready for our next turn onto Highland Avenue.

Highland is a nice wide avenue with a wide bike lane to run in. It’s also a hill for the first half mile.

5K and Water Stop One

Shortly after turning onto Highland we hit 5K. Only 9.4 miles to go!

At this point all of us still felt good and both the long and short runners were still together.

Julie and Gail had the first stop set up for us. When you get a group of runners together, it can be hard to get them going once again. We have so much fun catching up.

Zelia Magliozzi had run down the Fellsway and met us at the water stop. She was doing a recovery run after doing her long run on Saturday.

Sunday Long Run at the first water stop.
Zelia Magliozzi Photo

I left the water stop by my self. If you hang out too long the muscles tighten up and you get cold.

As I headed out of the Fulton Street rotary I could see a few runners ahead of me heading up the Elm Street hill. They had crossed the road already and were moving along nicely.

I put my head down and dug into the hill. About half way up the hill I made my crossing to be in position for our right onto the Fellsway West.

As I approached the turn I saw a runner in a 2017 Boston Marathon jacket. He was standing there looking at his phone.

When I reached him I asked if he was okay and he said he thought he was lost. He had downloaded the half-map and thought he needed to turn left.

I assured him that we were taking a right and off we went. His name was Eric and he was with The Mystic Runners. Eric is also training for Boston 2023.

This piece of road has a number of challenges. The breakdown lane is nice and wide in most places, but there is hill. There is also a ramp to Rt. 93 South and if someone is coming up behind you and doesn’t care about hitting you, it can get dicey.

Fortunately we waved someone on who was coming towards us to take the ramp.

The run over the Rt 93 bridge wasn’t too bad. Some days this wide open area can be windy and cold.

Shortly after the bridge we hit mile 5 and approached the exit ramp from Rt. 93 North. People come flying up this ramp, there isn’t a cross walk and no one would expect to see runners crossing their path.

Once again, we were fortunate and there wasn’t any traffic.

10K and Water Stop Two

Just as we hit mile 6, we made our turn at Straw Point for water stop two.

Nicole Jacob was our goddess at this stop. We weren’t especially parched or anything but it’s always nice to see a friendly face.

After a quick drink we continued on our way and hit 10K before we left the parking lot.

Eric hadn’t run much beyond 10 miles in quite a while and as we told Nicole, “it’s beginning to feel like a run.”

We ran down Pond Street in Stoneham and made our way past the Stone Zoo. Running past the parking lot we had to run another hill.

The Road to Boston SLR 2 course map

Shortly after we hit mile 7 the road turns into Woodland Road. This is one of those curvy, hilly roads that our forefathers designed for Sunday driving in the suburbs. We managed to stay pretty close to our average pace running the hills they designed for amusement.

As we approached Flynn Rink we hit mile 8 and it felt like a gift. I hardly noticed the mile. I still felt pretty good but both of us had become more focused on putting one foot in front of the other.

We negotiated the Fulton Rotary again and headed for water stop 1/3.

It’s always nice when the club can use a water stop twice. It’s often challenging to get enough volunteers to man all of our stops. Sometimes one person will cover more than one stop.

Four miles to go at Water Stop Three

Eric and I were the only two runners at the stop this time.

Julie and Gail said they ran out of cups and had to go buy more. Based on the cup count they figured 40 runners were on the course. Amazingly, there were a few people behind us.

We didn’t hang out long. We were both sweaty and tired and didn’t want to get cold and have our muscles tighten up.

Stiffly we started out and crossed the road to get ready for our next turn.

This was onto East Border Road which is a hilly piece of road on the south side of The Middlesex Fells Reservation.

As we ran down the hill approaching the Fellsway East we hit mile 9. Only 3.5 miles to go.

The turn onto The Fellsway had us running up hill immediately.

Drivers tend to fly up this road also. Seems to be a common theme here!

But the pavement is only a few years old and there is a pretty good break down lane for most of this section of The Fellsway.

We continued to chat as we made our way over these hills. As we crested the second hill we hit mile 10 and still felt pretty good.

As we ran down the hill I knew I needed to make a pit stop at the Dunkin Donuts.

Eric asked if I wanted him to hang out, but I told him to go on and I’d try to catch up.

Fortunately the restroom door wasn’t locked and I was back on the road in no time.

As I left Dunkin’s parking lot I didn’t see any other runners. But I knew where I was going.

As I crested yet another hill I saw Joe Winslow ahead running on the sidewalk. It took me a bit to catch up with him, but when I did we ran the rest of the distance together.

Joe and I haven’t run together in probably three years. We did chat after a club run a few weeks ago, but it was still fun catching up. Both of us once had little girls and are now empty nesters.

As we approached West Foster Street I made sure we got to 12.5 miles. This early in a training program, you don’t want to be taking short cuts. Training is about doing the work.

Apre SLR 2

Before COVID we used to hang out at Brueggers after a long run. They had a few long tables and we could get twenty or so people seated. It was great and we left some cash in the till.

But Brueggers removed all of their tables during COVID and still hasn’t replaced them.

So we headed to a new coffee shop called Café Nero. It’s in a new building on Main Street and is a new shop in town. I think they are a local chain.

There menu looks like Starbucks but they have a wider variety of food and the décor is a bit more modern and hip than Starbucks.

I was celebrating twenty years since my first ever training run. So I got a grande coffee and an almond cressant.

As one of the last long-runners to come in, I found the table full. But AJ Drummond was gracious enough to offer his seat. He had to head out.

It was fun to hang out with everyone. Some people I knew, some I recognized and some I didn’t.

I finished my cressant, said my good byes and headed home. While I sat there my muscles had tightened up and I knew that I needed to get home and stretch.

Run well My Friends!

Andy

New England Marathons Winter 2022

A short list is better than no list of winter marathons!

Updated December 21st, 2022

COVID-19 has been tough on winter marathons and it looks like we may have lost a few. Keep your laces tied!

Astronomical Winter 2022 officially began on Thursday, December 21st at 10:27 PM EST. The “Winter Solstice” marks the beginning of winter. On the Winter Solstice the sun reaches the southern most point in the sky at Noon local time.

Click on race names for the latest details. Let me know if you know of other New England Winter Marathons.

New England Marathons Winter

Roxbury Marathon

12 November | 8:30 AM | Saturday – see you in 2023

Hurlburt Recreation Area – 18 Apple Lane, Roxbury CT

This scenic, hilly, no-frills, early winter 26.2 mile foot race will cost you only $45 or $35 for the Half.

In 2019 there were only 47 marathon finishers. This race is not for the casual runner.

Here is a report on the 2017 race.

Race Results 2022

Millinocket Marathon and Half 2022

3 December | 10 AM | Saturday

33 Penobscot Ave Millinocket, Maine

In 2015, twelve runners ran the marathon and 42 finished the Half and it has taken off from there.

The race was cancelled in 2020 but in 2021, 154 runners finished the marathon and 944 completed the half. In 2022 176 finished the marathon and 1191 finished the half.

This race continues to grow in popularity and make contributions to the Millinocket region.

Our FREE marathon & half was started in 2015 to help a struggling northern Maine mill town that has been devastated by the closing of their major employer. Do not run Millinocket for what you get instead RUN MILLINOCKET for what you GIVE. Please do not take spots in our race unless you are serious about doing your very best to show up (of course we know life happens) but please don’t register just because our race is free. All participants are required to generously patronize Katahdin area businesses in lieu of an entry fee. Our 2016 edition was a tremendous success and we look forward to growing our event in 2017 and all the positive influence it brings!

Millinocket used to be a mill town with two paper mills. When I was growing up the economy and the town were vibrant. The high school had competitive sports teams and they were just another city in Maine.

Now the mills are gone and times have changed in Millinocket. The organizers of this race seek to draw runners from near and far to help inject a little economic life into this Northern Maine town.

As they say in the quote above, don’t sign up just because it is free. Sign up because you want to run the race and provide some stimulus to the local economy while you are there.

Race Results 2022

Boston Prep 16 Miler and 5 Miler

22 January | 10:00 AM | Sunday 2023

West Running Brook Middle School – Derry, NH

Derry 16 miler, winter running, New England Marathons Winter

I’ve run this race twice and it’s been very cold or freezing both times. The first time I ran the race the school parking lot was glazed in black ice. I kept sliding down the parking lot while waiting for the race to begin.

Bring your big boy shorts for this run!

The 27th Annual Northeast Delta Dental Boston Prep – this moderately challenging 16-miler is ideally scheduled for runners training for the Boston Marathon, any other spring marathon or a Runner looking for a mid-winter challenge! Are you a regular runner but not ready for a full 16? Try the “BP-Lite,” which offers a taste of the Boston Prep experience on a 5 mile course!

Registration is open: $75 for the 16-miler and $40 for the 5-Miler through January 20th.

Everyone should put this race on their bucket list. It really is an experience not to be missed.

Here is my 2015 race recap.

2023 Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & Marathon Team Relay

5 March | 10:00 AM | Sunday 2023

Hyannis, MA

New England Marathons Winter, Hyannis MarathonGranite State Race Services has this race on their calendar, but they do not have registration information listed.

Registration is open: $70 for the Marathon, $60 for the Half, and $55 for the 10K. The Marathon relay is $120 per team.

The marathon has a registration limit of 400 runners, so once registration opens don’t wait.

These races are USATF Certified:

  • USATF Certification # MA11001RN – Marathon
  • USATF Certification # MA11002RN – Half Marathon
  • Boston Marathon Qualifier – 6 Hour Course Time Limit

2020 ALL Race Results

PEAK Snow Devil Winter Races

3-11 February | 8:00 AM | Saturday – 2023

Pittsfield, VT

This is a snow shoe event where you can run a 100 miler, 100K, a Marathon, Half Marathon or a 10K.

The 100 miler begins at 6AM and the 100K begins at Noon on February 5th The Marathon begins at 7:30AM, Half at 8AM, 10K at 8:30AM and 5K at 9AM all on February 6th.

Snow shoes are required and this race is not for the faint of heart. The course is a 6.5 mile loop with 1200 feet vertical. Only 13 runners finished the marathon in 2018!

Registration is open:$175 for the 100 Miler, $120 for the 100K, $85 for the Marathon, $65 for the Half, $55 for the 10K.


New England Mararthons Winter

The Ocean’s Run Marathon, Half Marathon, 4 Miler & Kids’ Fun Run

TBD March | 8:00 AM | Saturday – possibly cancelled

Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, RI

All courses are USATF Certified and the marathon is a Boston Qualifier! This race has always been a great tune-up for Boston and other late Spring Marathons.

This race winds through the quiet Westerly beach communities of Misquamicut and Weekapaug. There are water views at nearly every stretch of the race. With hardly any climbs to speak of, this race is fast and furious!!

The race starts and finish at the Misquamicut State Beach! A portion of the proceeds to benefit The Westerly Track and Athletic Club!

Registration for 2022 has not opened. In 2019 registration was: Marathon – $90.00,1/2 Marathon – $60.00 and 4 Miler – $30.

This race received some bad reviews for 2019 and I do not see any information listed for 2022. It looks like this race was last held in 2019.

The Hampton Half

5 March | 10:00 AM | Sunday – registration is open!

Hampton Beach, NH

I know it’s not a marathon, but who wants to sit around until spring?

I’ve run this half three times and it’s one of my favorite halfs.

It’s often cold and sometimes there is a cold breeze off of the Gulf of Maine. Sometimes it’s just a beautiful day.

Here is my 2019 race Recap.

This is a USATF measured and certified course.

Registration is open!

If you are a race director and I have missed your race please contact me at: [email protected] If you are not a race director and know of a marathon that I missed, please contact me at the same email.

Run well my Friends and try to keep warm!

Andy

Snowshoe Racing

Snowshoe Origins and Evolution

Snowshoes have been around for about 6,000 years, but snowshoe racing is a fairly recent phenomenon.

According to the United States Snowshoe Association, (USSSA) snowshoeing originated in central Asia and come to North America with the ancestors of the Inuits and Native Americans.

Over the past 30 plus years, snowshoe racing and running have grown in popularity along with all the other outdoor endurance sports.

As the sport has grown in popularity, snowshoes have evolved as well.

Snowshoe Evolution

Ancient snowshoes were made of modified slabs of wood. In North America, Native Americans adopted white ash frames and raw hide for snowshoe construction. Through the 1960’s and 70’s this design remained relatively unchanged.

I grew up wearing this type of snow shoe. For hiking they were fine, but I never tried to run in them.

snowshoe racing, winter sports
Photo – snowshoes.com

In the 1960’s some manufacturers offered neoprene lacing. Neoprene did not stretch when it got wet and was low maintenance. In 1972 Gene and Bill Prater developed the oval-shaped aluminum framed Sherpa snowshoe and steel hinge. In 1989 they replaced neoprene with polypropylene to make the Sherpas even lighter.

In 1990 Redfeather Snowshoe Company introduced an aluminum framed beaver tail snowshoe that became very popular. The company sponsored several snowshoe racing events in Colorado that gained the attention of marathon runners and triathletes. These athletes brought attention and credibility to the sport.

In 1991 Tubbs Snowshoe Company (Est. 1906) introduced the Katahdin and Sierra snowshoes. Tubbs and the entire industry enjoyed strong sales growth of 20-30% over the next 20 years.

In 1994 444,000 pairs of snowshoes were sold in the US. In 1995, 640,000 pairs were sold and in 1996 over a million pairs were sold. Today approximately 5.5 million people participate in snowshoeing in North America alone.

Most snowshoes are now made of aluminum and are either 8″ X 25″ or 9″ X 30″. Other sizes are available for deep snow hiking and other conditions. For officially sanctioned USSSA events, regulations require snowshoes to have at least 120 square inches of functional surface area and dimensions no smaller than 7″ X 20″.

The USSA web site lists the known models that meet these specifications. The website also has their official rule books for Sprint and Distance races.

Cute Moose Snowshoe manufacturer’s list has 13 manufacturer’s of all types of snowshoes including race and hiking snowshoes.

Snowshoe Racing

As a kid I was familiar with snowshoes. We always had a few pair around the house and I became proficient at walking in them on trails or in the woods.

With all of the snow in 2016, I began to pay more attention to snowshoe race listings. They seemed to keep popping up while I searched for 5K races. I even ran in snowshoes in the Nutty Irish 5K Cocoa Run.

snowshoe racing, 5k race

I wore a pair of Tubbs hiking snowshoes which at 9″ x 30″ were less than ideal to run in. But, it was an adventure that I’ll never forget!

Snowshoe Racing Nationwide

The United States Snow Shoe Association (USSSA) is the governing body and organizer of the Snow Shoe National Championships. They usually list local races also, but as of January 23rd 2022, they only had two races races on their list! See my links below for local race listings.

The two Nationals events are:

Jr and Collegiate Nationals in Leadville, CO January 29, 2022
Open Nationals in Cable, WI March 13, 2022

Over the past few years many races have been cancelled due to lack of snow.

Usually there are non-USSA sanctioned races put on by local running clubs and non-profits. These races have also suffered from the lack of snow the past few years.

Snowshoe Racing in Your Area

I’m a big advocate of racing locally. I like to support local groups and hate to drive two hours to run a 5K. Check out these links to races and to find races in your area.

2022 Snowshoe Festival
Norway, ME |19 February | Saturday | 10:00 AM

Run a 5K or 10K for $10. A 2K race is also available for $5.

Snow Devil Ultra Snowshoe Races
Pittsfield, VT | 5-6 February | Saturday/Sunday | Various times

You have a choice of distances for this evert:

100 Mile or 100K at 6 am or Noon respectively, Saturday February 5
Marathon starts at 8 am Saturday, February 6
1/2 Marathon starts at 9 am Saturday, February 6
10k starts 10 am Saturday, February 6

The course will be a gorgeous 6.5-mile loop in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Each loop will have 1200 feet of elevation change and sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges!

Registration is open – $175 for the 100 Miler, $120 for the 100K, $85 for the Marathon, $65 for the Half and $55 for the 10K.

Sugarhouse Snowshoe or Trail Run 5K/10K
Shelburne, VT | 26 February | Saturday | 9:00 AM

Run a 5K or 10K for $30.

The Sugarhouse Snowshoe 5K/10K is back this year! This race appeals to competitive snowshoe runners as well as relaxed fitness walkers.

You’ll be treated to a beautiful run through the sugar grove of Shelburne Sugarworks. If mother nature cooperates, this will be a snowshoe race.

Otherwise, it will be a 5K run/walk or 10K run. You’ll start and finish at Shelburne Sugarworks where there could be some sugaring in the works (depending on Mother Nature).

Just prior to the race, we will be offering a short (200-300 yard) race for kids. This portion of the race will be free. No awards or shirts will be involved with this “fun run” snowshoe event.

22nd Saratoga Winterfest 5k Snowshoe Race
Saratoga Springs, NY | 6 February | Saturday | 11:00 AM

Registration is only $20 and there are only 90 bibs left! Sponsored by Dion.

Selkirk Shores 5K Snowshoe Run/Walk
Pulaski, NY | 6 February | Saturday | 11:00 AM

Race will begin and end at our enclosed shelter that overlooks Lake Ontario. Enjoy our thrilling woodland racecourse with portions of the trail groomed. Finish by warming up around the stone fireplace and enjoying some refreshments. Everyone if welcome to participate. Masks will be required indoors.

Registration is $20 through February 5th.

These are just a few. Check out the links below for more local listings.

The Dion – Western Massachusetts Athletic Club web site has information on their 2021-2022 snowshoe racing series. These races are all in New England and New York and run through March.

Snowshoe Magazine has product reviews, race information and local club listings. With so few race opportunities, hooking up with a local club may be your best bet if you want to get out and enjoy the sport.

World Snowshoe Federation lists snowshoe races all over the world. You can also find information on the World Snowshoe Championships. The USSA was a founding member in 2010, now there are 14 member organizations.

Cute Moose Has a list of races in the mid-West and is a great resource for information on snow shoes and all things snowshoe related.

Acidotic Racing has listed snow shoe races in the past but I don’t see anything for 2022.

Maine Trail Finder is a great resource. You can search for trails by town or county, difficulty and type of activity. More for hiking than snow shoe racing, but still a cool site.

Western Mass Athletic Club hosts the DION Racing Series and lists the full schedule. They also have tips for beginners.

Top 10 Snowshoe Races 2019-2020 from northernlites.com has some good information on races all over the country from New Hampshire to Alaska!

The National Weather Service has a page where you can get current snow conditions. This will help you figure out if a snow shoe race may actually be able to happen!

Have you ever run a snowshoe race? If you find one in your area, would you try it?

Run well my friends!

Andy