A major New Hampshire marathon event is born! The inaugural Gate City Marathon and Relay on May 17, 2015 was a smashing success. The church bells rang and the crowds cheered as over 600 runners took to the streets of Nashua last Sunday morning.
Gate City Marathon Parking/Facilities/Registration
The inaugural Gate City Marathon was a relatively small race, but race organizers made sure that runners enjoyed the perks of a big-time race. The planning and coordination of race officials and city staff was outstanding. Several blocks of downtown Nashua were closed to traffic, which allowed runners to move freely back and forth between the relay transition areas, start/finish areas, and race facilities.
Parking was easy. There were several options for free parking near race headquarters. The facilities were impressive. A long line of porta-potties meant zero wait time and the number of volunteers made registration and bag drop-off a breeze.
The swag bag for runners had lots of goodies. Many local businesses donated coupons and there were some runner-specific gifts inside. For the first 500 registered runners there was also a nice technical t-shirt to commemorate the event.
Gate City Marathon Race Course
The race course follows a clover leaf pattern to give spectators front row seats a several points in the race without having to leave the start finish area. It also allowed relay transitions to happen in one central location making it easier for runners. For marathoners, it was a nice pick-me-up and a great place to get water, wet towels, or seek medical attention if necessary.
There were some hills. The race course was what I would call rolling. Some of the biggest hills were visited in loops 1 and 5. The water stops were placed well, and an extra water stop was added to loop 5 as the temperatures rose into the 80s by midday. The course stayed on the streets for the most part, but ventured onto a shaded bike path during loop 3.
Gate City Marathon Post-Race Refreshments
Hungry runners found pizza, chips, yogurt, protein bars, soup, water, Nuun hydration drinks, and all kinds of goodies in the post-race tents. There were lots of smiles from the volunteers and words of congratulations. The vibe was very positive, and some runners even treated themselves to complimentary post-race massage.
Gate City Marathon Awards/Results
The top finishers in the marathon were honored quickly after completing the race. Kevin McIntyre and Yuki Chorney earned the top spots. Kevin finished in 3:02:27 and Yuki crossed the line in 3:28:27. Both of them are members of the local Gate City Striders running club.
The after-party and the rest of the awards were presented later in the day at the Arena Sports Bar a few blocks away from the finish area. Full Gate City Marathon race results can be found here.
Gate City Marathon Overall Experience
I had a great time! The relay format was a fun way to get people involved in the marathon distance. This race was not only a great event, but it also gave people a taste of Nashua’s downtown area. You’ll want to mark this one on your calendar for next year.
The Gate City Striders know how to put on a great race. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers, police, fire, and rescue, as well as Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and the public works department. Let’s do it again in 2016!