The 2014 Pursuit of the Holy Grail was a fun and festive return to road racing in New Hampshire. What defines this race is the effort of the volunteers, bus drivers, police force, and race staff. This is a fast point-to-point race to help you nail your PR and test your winter training.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: Race parking is limited, but if you arrive an hour before race start you’ll find a spot nearby. For those that arrive later, there is a satellite location not far away. Registration was quick and easy. A table of friendly volunteers was able to handle things efficiently. Runners received bright orange tech tees with the race logo on the front. I’ll be wearing mine to stay safe on the roads. Sufficient porta-potties were available at both the registration and start areas.
Race Course: The 3.1 mile USATF certified course is fast and mostly downhill. There is a challenging incline right at the end, but it keeps things interesting. The start is a mile or two from the finish, so buses were provided to shuttle runners from the registration/finish area to the starting line. New this year, a bag service was provided to transport runner’s clothes from the start to the finish line- very convenient on a chilly morning in March. Splits were given at mile 1.
Refreshments: Beer. What would a St. Patrick’s Day race be without it really? Each runner over 21 was entitled to their choice of IPA or Pale Ale. I wasn’t able to find any food items, but I did see some runners munching on Clif bars. So I might have missed them.
Awards and Results: The results were processed quickly by Granite State Race Services. By the time I got home, they had already been posted to Coolrunning.com, and a personalized email was sent to me with my results. The results were announced in the Holy Grail Restaurant and Pub. This is an improvement over last year when runners shivered outdoors, but space was an issue. The awards were generous and many people left with cash prizes or movie passes. Andy Schachat, the voice of New Hampshire running, was on duty at the finish line and the awards ceremony.
Overall Experience: I like this race. I look forward to kicking off the season racing through the small town of Epping, NH. The race is very family oriented and the proceeds support the Epping Youth Athletic Association. The t-shirts even came in youth sizes!
Did you run this race? Would you recommend it? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.