January 3, 2011

Bring on the Runners

Greater Derry Track Club race director Dave Breeden talks with Patrick Moulton before the start of the 2010 Boston Prep 16-Miler, as Justin Fyffe, center, and Andy McCarron, right, prepare to run. Moulton went on to take first, with Fyffe and McCarron coming in second and third respectiively. 
Union Leader Correspondent
Amy Crowthier of Manchester, all geared up and ready to run,
crosses the starting line, marking the beginning of the
 2010 Boston Prep 16-Miler in Derry. Runners still
 have time to register for the 2011 race, scheduled for Jan. 23.
DERRY -- With less than three weeks until Greater Derry Track Club’s annual Boston Prep foot race, the clock is ticking for those who’ve procrastinated about registering for this year’s event, which will follow the usual 16-mile course through town, with a few added twists.
For one thing, there’s room this year for 100 more registrations than last year, opening up the field to 900 runners to participate in the Jan. 23 race. Also, staging will return to West Running Brook Middle School after spending the last several years with all the preand post-race hoopla at Derry Village School.
“It’s an important point to stress to people, that we’ll be back at West Running Brook. It’s great, because it’s a bigger facility and it’s where the race ends anyway. So especially if the weather is nasty, people won’t have to make their way down that steep hill to Derry Village,” said Dave Breeden, who is serving as organizer for the 11th straight year.
The reason for the switch back to West Running Brook is one part divine intervention, one part logic.
According to Breeden, five years ago NorthRidge Church, a congregation that meets Sundays at the middle school, tried to coordinate their services around the race preparations by having their congregation park behind the school.
“What’s happened over the years is our congregation has been growing exponentially, and so despite trying to work it out, it just didn’t work out,” said NorthRidge Pastor Mike Mills.
Breeden heard that last year the church actually decided to cancel it’s usual Sunday service so that the race could go off without a hitch.
“When I heard that, I decided to contact the church and said, ‘Hey, if you aren’t going to meet here because of the race anyway, we’d love to move back to West Running Brook.’ We just didn’t want to disrupt them,” said Breeden.
Mills said because the annual race is such an important community event, his church group will simply switch gears and focus on a youth event in an alternate location for one Sunday.
“It’s only once a year, and we just wanted to do the right thing for the community,” said Mills.
That said, Breeden is looking forward to record registrations this year with the added slots.
“Last year we had 800 registered
 and 705 that actually ran, which is normal for a winter race — you expect a 10 to 15 percent no show rate,” Breeden said.
With only 74 days left before the Boston Marathon, this becomes the perfect training event, said Breeden.
“I call it a glorified long run with a group of 800 of your friends,” Breeden said. “People training for Boston need to run 16 miles about this time of year. It’s tough to get out there in winter, but it’s a lot easier to run 16 miles when you’re with other people.”
In its 16-year history, the race has only been preempted once by
“It would take a blizzard for us to cancel. We have a snow date of Jan. 30 set up and we work closely with the town, who has the final say if conditions are bad enough. They’ll be the ones canceling, not me,” Breeden said.
The course is considered “moderately challenging.” The race features chip timing, four on-course timing splits, mile markers and four on-course water stops. Finishers are treated to hot soup and other donated foods after the race. All entrants receive a long sleeved
 half-zip technical shirt. 

Runners can register through Jan. 20, and the best way is to go to www.gdtc.org, said Breeden. Online registrations received before Jan. 15 are $40; mailed registrations received before the 15th are $45. Race day registrations are $50. Proceeds support the track club’s annual Summer Running Programs held annually at Pinkerton Academy. 
Breeden said the race has been selling out every year, and even with the 100 added slots, he expects this year to be no different. 
“We’re ready to run,” said Breeden. 
For more race information, contact Breeden at weluv2run@comcast.net, or call 603-432-6865. 

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