Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Bedford 1/2 marathon - course and logistics

New Bedford Preview:

Although the half-marathon is a staple of the Grand Prix series it was not part of the series from 1985-1989.  Since 1990 it has been part of the series every year except for 1992.  This year will mark the 20th time that New Bedford has hosted the championship.  The Law Enforcement (Melrose, MA) was the championship five times between 1998 and 2003 (the race was last held in 2004).  The only other races to host the half-marathon championship were the now defunct Newport Savings (Newport RI) and the Bay State Half (Lowell, MA) in 1996 and 1997 respectively.  CMS has won the open team title eleven times, the most recent was 1999.  BAA has also taken home the top spot eleven times.  WMDP, GLRR, and RB have each won twice.  CMS holds the championship record for individual and team with Donahue’s 63:12 and the 1990 teams combined time of 5:30:39.  That is an average time of 1:06:08 for five runners that year Charlie Breagy ran 1:08:34 and was a non-scoring member of the squad.

Race information can be found here:

Number Pickup is on Saturday, March 18th, 2017 (Noon - 4PM) & Sunday, March 19th, 2017 (8:30AM - 10:30AM) at

25 South Water Street,
New Bedford, MA 02740
The course features 407’ of elevation gain and has seven on-course water stations (8th water stop at the finish).  There was no indication on the website where the water was but you won’t go more than 2 miles without a water stop.
Get to the start at least 10 minutes before the gun; it can be very difficult to get yourself seeded properly as you have to enter from the BACK of the starting corral which means if you are headed to the front you have to make your way past 2500 others.

The first mile drops 30’ so it is tempting to go out a bit too fast.  The next mile climbs 30’ (gently) and then after 2 miles things heat up.  There is a 100’ climb over 6/10th followed by a 70’ drop to the 3 mile mark.  The fourth mile also has a tough hill with 100’ of climb in the first ½ mile then a 30’ drop.  As you pass four miles you turn south on Rockwell Ave. and some very steady fast running (30’ drop to 5 miles and another 30’ drop to 6).  The 7th mile may be the fastest of the day as you drop another -90’ as you reach the ocean just before 7miles.  Cove road and Rodney French Blvd are typically fast running as well with basically flat running until a 20’ bump at the 9 mile mark.  At 9.3 you pass Fort Rodman and East Beach and start heading north.  This is where the wind always seems to be strongest.  Again no climbs but you are into the teeth of the wind until you reach the city around 11 miles.  11 to 12 climbs 20’ then you hit the final hill of the day an 80’ climb from 12 to 12.5.  After that it is flat until 12.8 when you drop 30’ in .2 then flatten out for the final kick to the finish.

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