Sunday, November 16, 2008

USATF-NE Road 2009 GP Series

Okay, so it isn't trail related, but it is a great series of running events in the New England region, and a challenge. It is definitely one of the challenges, much like trail running, that brought me back to training seriously enough to race. If I do take on this challenge it will definitely not be to win any of these races or score any points for a club. For the most part it will be all about finishing each race in order to earn the designation of USATF Road Series 'Iron Runner". Sounds easy, right, running seven races to earn a jacket, but as my attempt to train and run the Cape Cod Marathon will clearly show, getting past the last race in the series is always the hardest part. A close second is staying healthy for the year to be able to finish all of the races in the series, which this year are spread out over 10 months from February to October.

The seven races that were recently voted on and awarded the designation of USATF Championship and GP Series races:

DH Jones 10 miler - Amherst, MA - Febraury 22nd
New Bedford Half Marathon - New Bedford, MA - March 15th
Bedford Rotary 12k - Bedford, NH - May 16th
Rhody 5k - Lincoln, RI - June 7th
Ollie 5 Miler - South Boston, MA - September 12th
Lone Gull 10k - Gloucester, MA - September 20th
Bay State Marathon - Lowell, MA - October 18th

The Pros:
- It doesn't interfere with running any Autumn Ultra, in fact, having Bay State as the Marathon installment, provides a nice 'training run' for Stone Cat if I go that route.
- It leaves July and August wide open for trail racing.
- All of the races could essentilly be training runs... Essentially I feel comfortable running most of these distances with a very limited amount of training if need be.
- It provides a great way of gauging improvements in speed and endurance.

The Cons:
- It is focused on road races, not trails.
- Race #1 is in Febraury on the SAME day as the Hyannis Marathon, which was going to be my answer to not being able to run Cape Cod this year.
- Pineland Farms Races, traditionally on Memorial Day weekend, would fall between and close to two of the GP races. Pineland is one ultra I have been considering, but do I have enough time to train for a trail ultra in May?

In any event, it is all for the fun of taking on a challenge, no matter what I decide to do. There is the Eastern NE trail series and the Grand Tree, but where both of those series' are great takes and offer some real adventures, there are lots of them.

Then there is my fascination with races of pure masochism like the Jay Marathon, which I would love to do at some point, but it fills quickly and well ahead of the date of the race, so you have to be darn tootin' sure you'll be in shape to take on that grueling 30+ mile trek.

Until next time, Cheers!

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