Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K 2016

Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K
5K
Epping, NH
March 19, 2016
Race Results
Race Photos

The 6th annual Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K was fun, fast, and festive! Shamrocks, smiles, and 3.1 miles mark the official opening of racing season here in the Granite State. Runners of all ages covered the rolling hills and back roads of Epping, NH in the Pursuit of the Holy Grail Restaurant where cold beer,  cheering crowds, and music combined to offer runners an epic post-race party.

Pre-Race

Parking was available in several lots near the Holy Grail Restaurant. Registration began at 9:00am, the race began at 10:30am. We arrived at 9:30 and had no trouble picking up our t-shirts and numbers.

This race follows a point-to-point course. Runners are given the rare treat of riding a school bus to the starting line. There is also a bag check service for the convenience of runners who want to bag their extra layers at the start and pick them up after they finish. That’s a lot of planning and extra work for the race director and staffers. But, it’s a really nice touch that runners appreciate.

Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K Start

As the runners warm up on the nearly empty roads near the starting line, Andy Schachat provides running commentary and lively music keeps everybody amped and ready to race.

Race

The race course begins with a rolling first mile, a fast downhill in mile two, and a steep climb up to the finish line in the last mile. The field keeps getting faster every year with winning times in the 15-minute window. This is the first test of 5K fitness after the long winter months for many of the local racing crowd, and everybody hammers.

Holy Grail 5K Saltmarsh Running

There were volunteers reading split times at miles one and two. Water stops were set up in two different spots. The Epping police did a great job controlling traffic as runners and vehicles are traveling on the same roads.

Post-Race

Water, Clif bars, bananas, and beer were available to finishers of the Holy Grail 5K. Thankfully, the awards ceremony was held indoors and out of the cold March wind. Cash prizes were awarded to the top finishers and the age groups are generous with several youth categories to encourage younger runners.

Pursuit of the Holy Grail NH Road Race

The Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K road race is one of my favorites. It’s fast, fun, and raises money for the Epping Youth Athletics Association.

Join us next year by keeping an eye on the EYAA site for announcements about the 7th Annual Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5K.

2015 Gate City Marathon

Gate City Marathon 2015 StartA 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 Logo

The Gate City Marathon and Relay
Nashua, NH
May 17, 2015
Race Results | Race Photos

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.

Walking to Start

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.

tents at Gate City Marathon

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 Swag

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.

mile 13 Gate City Marathon

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.

Relay Gate City Marathon

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.

Refreshments Gate City Marathon

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.

Winners Gate City Marathon

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.

Miss Gate City

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!