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10 New England road races
April 08, 2012|By Shira Springer
The Boston Marathon is a great motivator. As roughly 27,000 runners cross the finish line April 16, thousands on the sidelines will be inspired. Maybe a marathon goes on the bucket list, but a shorter race may seem a more realistic first step. New England boasts a calendar packed with spring, summer, and fall road races of all distances.
A top destination race combines convenience, good organization, tourist- and family-friendly locales, and festive atmosphere. The events listed here all offer a slice of New England – covered bridges and lighthouses or quintessential Main Streets and village greens. They show off familiar cities from unfamiliar vantage points and turn small towns into hot spots for a weekend. In these 10 races, the experience goes beyond the course and competition.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE Manchester, Conn. For many in the field of 15,000, Thanksgiving morning in Manchester is a holiday tradition. The 4 3/4-mile course starts and finishes on postcard-primed Main Street. Last year, the race celebrated its 75th anniversary, maintaining much of its charm and appeal amid growing popularity. Some runners get into the holiday spirit dressed as pilgrims, turkeys, and Thanksgiving side dishes. The vibe is fun and festive, though fast runners feel right at home with Olympic-caliber elites competing for the men’s and women’s titles. Crowds along the route are thick and live music groups numerous. You will hear “Rocky’’ theme music and the “Olympic Fanfare.’’ Bagpipers at the 2-mile mark are a welcome treat after a long uphill climb. Nov. 22, 10 a.m. www.manchesterroadrace.com
COVERED BRIDGES HALF MARATHON South Pomfret, Vt. Race organizers currently cap entrants at around 2,600 runners, ensuring the half marathon retains its quaint, Vermont feel. And the small field also keeps foot traffic flowing smoothly past four covered bridges and through the Middle Covered Bridge. On-line registration stays open no more than 20 minutes each year. With a coveted spot, runners enjoy a scenic tour through the towns of Pomfret, Woodstock, and Quechee in early June. “It’s a very pretty, very New England setting,’’ said race co-director Mike Silverman. “The countryside and downtown Woodstock are what people think Vermont is. And more and more people are making the event a family getaway.’’ In addition to shopping in Woodstock, nearby Hanover, N.H., is always popular with visitors. June 3, 8:15 a.m. www.cbhm.com
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