To help inform USATF-NE voters, we’ve given each race a chance to state their case to the voters. This is their chance to sway any voters that may or may not be on the fence. All content was provided by each race, with only minor editing on our part (if needed).
Why the New Bedford Half Marathon is a Great Fit for the USATF-NE Grand Prix
By Dan McCarthy
Race Director and Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, Member in Good Standing.
The New Bedford Half Marathon and the USATF-NE Grand Prix have a long history. Some people reading this might respond to that statement by voicing the opinion “Exactly, that is why it is time for something new.” I can understand that sentiment, I am not obtuse to the fact that the Half Marathon is among the fastest growing race distances in the sport. There are new races popping up every weekend, some are heavily commercialized, some are gimmicks and some are high quality road races. Some of these races will stand the test of time and some will come in, disrupt the road race seen for a while and disappear.
The New Bedford Half Marathon was formed before any of that, it was formed by a group of die-hard road runners who wanted a safe, challenging test of their winter mileage in preparation for Boston. It has always been about the course and the runner, no gimmicks. Your hill work over the winter will be challenged at miles three and twelve but you are rewarded in miles four through eight with an opportunity to test your speed work… Even if you have to pay for that speed when you hit the wind on the Peninsula!
In 2008, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick were approached by the founders of the New Bedford Half and asked if there was any interest in carrying on this New England Road Racing Tradition. We were excited with the opportunity, however we were lacking in experience. We formed a 100% volunteer race committee and shadowed the race creators in 2009 and I believe we have honored that great team in the years since.
We were given the following advice: This race must take place on the 3rd Sunday in March. Its timing in relation to Boston is purposely planned. Runner Safety is mission critical – the Runners need a closed course no matter what the expense (Not an easy task in a city of 100,000 and 110+ police officers required to close the course). This race must always be taken seriously, there is no need to add a 5k or create a festival, just put forth the best possible product AND always bid for the USATF-NE Grand Prix.
We have taken that last piece of advice and tweaked it a bit: Do not pay runners from outside of New England to come in and run your race in an attempt to promote the race. This has been easy because THERE IS SO MUCH TALENT ALREADY HERE! I truly enjoy replying to coaches and agents explaining that we can’t fly in, subsidize or put up their out of state or foreign athletes here in New Bedford. We know that if we can get the USATF-NE teams here, we are going to have the fastest Half Marathon in the Country that isn’t a heavily commercialized event. There is something Pure and Proud about that type of achievement.
We ask for your support, we want to keep this proud tradition of New Bedford’s involvement in the Grand Prix alive and well. For us, it isn’t about the ‘Bump in registration’ a Grand Prix can bring, it’s about the quality of the race that comes with the participation of the USATF-NE Teams. We live in an amazing democracy and each member who casts a vote has their ability to voice their own opinion on what they believe would be the best slate of races. We humbly ask for your consideration and support. Whatever the outcome of the voting might be, we will be back next year and each subsequent year, because we celebrate the New England Running Community and enjoy the yearly participation of the USATF-NE Teams.
Thank You for your Support,
Race Director and Member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick
More info can be found: www.newbedfordhalfmarathon.com
Check out the rest of our 2015 USATF-NE Grand Prix slate selection vote spectacular. Whether you read it here or elsewhere, make sure you’re informed and, even more importantly, make sure you vote!