A Family Affair

After a long off-season of planning, we have just wrapped up our 1st race of the year and have a short turn around time before the mack-daddy of Rhode Island races – The Providence Rhode Races.

The Newport race was so important to Karen and I – to start off the year on the right foot, for redemption anProposal-4935d just for the love of it.  We ended
up having a beautiful race day, we saw quite a few PRs and BQs and we even had TWO marriage proposals at the finish line.

It was so humbling to us to be a part of someone’s BIG moment like this, even some small part.   And as Proposal-4982is often the case, we get a bit introspective at the end of each race because we get to see so many emotions in our racers: struggle, determination and joy throughout the day. The finish line really is such a happy place.

We often say that for us, hosting a race is like inviting guests over to our home.  We want to throw a great party, have everything go perfectly and provide you a great memory.  We know that it took an awful lot of work for you to get to the starting line and we hope to give you the experience that reflects that work.

A race is a personal journey and it often requires the support of your family with the time and emotional work that it takes.  Our families support us in a different but similar way in helping us all enjoy the same event.  What you may nofunny finisht know is that we are truly a Mom and Pop show, well – more like Mom and Mom.  But we have our husbands, kids, friends and family all working behind the scenes to help us give you that memorable experience.

We would like to thank them – for supporting us, working with us, ENDURING us and allowing us to continue to be a part of this combined journey with you.fist pump finish

And thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your journey to the finish line.  We are all family now.

Ready to Launch

As I have said before – “running” a road race requires the same amount of pre-race prep, as does actually running the race.  We spend our off-season doing the unglamorous work of planning our race strategies, making tweaks to what went wrong last year and learning to improve and grow for this year.

Sound a lot like your running off-season?

Sometimes during your training, you may be struck by injury and incur a set back and have to redefine your plan.  This off-season, I have been struggling with my own inability to run.  Dealing with two different concurrent injuries, I have been sidelined since January – the longest time I have gone without running since High School (I won’t say how long that is)

Like many of you, I define myself by being a runner.  I would plan my whole week around a weather forecast, getting my run in each day was just as rote as brushing my teeth or taking a shower – it was just part of my daily routine.  After experiencing some serious injuries in ramping up for Boston in previous years, I had decided that I would give up LONG distance running so that I could continue to run into my later years.  I was perfectly happy with a 6-8 mi run each day with an occasional half marathon race to keep me feeling like I could still do the “endurance” stuff.

But now I can’t imagine what it will ever feel like to run pain-free. And I know I did this to myself as I didn’t listen to the experts – I sidelined yoga, I have never been much of a pre-run stretcher and it was just easier to go out and run each day – 6 days a week.  When I started to feel pain in my hips, I kept running through it.  And that led to the second injury in my Achilles – which was the run-stopper.

I have listened to Mike Silva from Foundation Performance enough to know I did everything wrong.  Now I am trying a variety of PT, dry needling, laser, Alter G treadmill runs – all in the hopes of getting back on the road.  I am not myself without being able to run outside.  I am sure many of you feel the same and have experienced the same disappointment from an injury.  We can all learn to be better runners, to listen to our bodies and not think we are infallible.

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Alter G Treadmill at Foundation Performance

So – in our efforts to provide a better overall race experience and as part of our mission to promote health and wellness – we are presenting our 2nd Annual RunStrong Clinic.  Mike Silva from Foundation Performance is back, as is Pete Russo from Russo Racing.  They will both cover training tips and strategies to get you to the starting line and have the best race you can plan for. Both Mike and Pete are leaders in Rhode Island for training and racing in their respective fields with years of experience and a top end client list.

And this time – when you are ready to launch, we will have learned from our mistakes and have some amazing tools to prevent a recurrence of injuries and strategies for running that we can use into our later years!

Hope you can join us.

Newport Rhode Races partners with The Heather Abbott Foundation

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Heather Abbott starting the Newport race in 2013.

As a runner in New England, the Boston Marathon is the Super Bowl of races.  It is iconic, it is historic and it is the pinancle race for a runner.  Many people work their whole lives chasing their BQs.  It is a bucket list item for them, the ultimate goal.  So when terrorists destroyed that happy place, that literal and figurative finish line – it was incomprehensible as to why.   They had taken something that was nothing but happiness and turned into something terrifying.

For too many reasons to list here, the bombing affected us deeply and personally.  But professionally, we had to host our own marathon just down the road and a few weeks after the bombing.  We had snipers in the river and in the bushes, armed guards at thscreen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-16-44-ame start line and dogs sniffing for explosives.  It was a very scary time in our nation and our New England running community.  But the race went off without a hitch, notwithstanding so many tears at the finish – of relief, of accomplishment, of joy. Runners can’t be stopped and won’t be afraid. We had invited runners that did not get a chance to finish Boston to the Providence race so they could finish what they started and show the terrorists that they would not win.  Watching people finish that year was truly awe-inspiring.  It was an incredibly screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-19-55-amemotional day and made us feel that we might be able to run without fear again.  It is where our motto can to be – “The happiest place on earth is a finish line.”

NPR – Providence Marathon Runs Undeterred by Terrorism Fears

Later on that same year, we hosted another marathon in Newport.  We were still (and likely still are) feeling the pain and confusion from the April bombings, trying to make sense of it all.  We invited Newport native and bombing survivor, Heather Abbott, to start the race.  Heather was one of the most positive and uplifting people we had ever met.  My encounter with her was inspiring and unforgettable.  At the time, she was so looking forward to being able to wear heels again! 🙂

This year we are hosting Newport again.  On the five year anniversary of the Boston Bombing.  It is highly symbolic for us.  To overcome, to not let fear keep us down, to show that running is inspiring and can change lives and that no one can take that away from us.

To this end, we can think of no better way to honor this than to partner with Heather again and designate her charity as the beneficiary of this race.  Heather’s positivity, her cause and her story are so inspiring.    Please consider making a donation to the Heather Abbott Foundation and show those that attempt to keep us off the starting line that we won’t be kept down.

“Thanks to Rhode Races and all of the runners for supporting HAF in our beautiful home base, Newport, RI.  Good luck and thank you for embodying our motto – #LiveYourLife!!” -Heather Abbott

#Run401 – The RI Running Tour

I used to travel for work quite a bit and my favorite way to explore the new locations was to run.  I felt you never really got to know a city unless you ran through the streets,  expecially before anyone else really was awake.  You smelled the various scents, get a little lost on some side streets, checked out the restaurants you wanted to try and really get the vibe of thrunning-into-npte whole scene.  These intangibles can’t be found from the back seat of a taxi cab or navigating through pedestrian traffic.  You got to explore the city as the locals did – on foot and intimately.  There are some amazing cities to run in (Seattle, Philadelphia and Austin being my all time fav) and some not so great cities (HELLO – Las Vegas, yikes!) – but I wouldn’t trade any of them for the running we have here in RI.

Most people think RI running and then think OCEAN!  Well, yes – we have miles of that, we aren’t called the Ocean State for nuthin’.  But my favorite part of running throweb-sized-promo-120ugh RI is the sheer variety of beauty that can be seen while out for a jog. The awe-inspiring coastal views are certainly selfie-worthy but I love the quiet backroads of the farms, incredible architecture of the colonial homes, the birds in the estuaries and the historic bridges that abound.  Most of this can all be seen in the same run.

Rhode Races is incredibly lucky to be able to produce events in the most iconic locations Rhode Island has to offer.  From the gilted mansions and famous Ocean Dr. in Newport to the funky arts and cultural capital of Providence with the river running through it.  Out to Bristol where it just feels like the town bleeds the red, white and blue of patriliz_3422otism, to Jamestown with its quaint island life, finally to Narragansett – the Happiest Seaside Village as rated by Coastal Living Magazine.  These five locations are the best RI has to offer for running with such a variety of views along the wayrace_1960_photo_45797472

It is our hope to take you on a tour as a local – show off the backroads and paths that can only be reached without a car, provide a course that highlights the best of each location, share the vibe of each different locality and enjoy some of the best running RI (ok, I will say it – the US) has to offer!

Hope you can join us for one – or all 5!  Learn more the RI Running Tour here. happy-in-foliage

Spring in Newport

April in New England conjures up many images – daffodils blooming, the grass turning greener, nature shaking off its winter coat and unfurling out its limbs. But for memorial-drive-uphill-startthose of us that are runners – it means marathon season!  Everyone gets into the marathon spirit in New England in April!    Many are either ramping up marathon training for a fall event or tapering for a Spring race.

It is a beautiful time to run – finally getting to reduce the layers, watching the flowers bloom on your favorite running route each day, seeing the animals come out of hibernation all “twitter-pated.”  The days are getting longer and warmer and everything feels fresh and new. The air feels clean and clear and we can enjoy being outside.

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There is no better place to celebrate running in New England and get into that marathon spirit than at our Newport Rhode Race.   Race weekend hosts 3 different distances for your Spring race goals.  You can use the full marathon to help qualify you for Boston, run the half marathon as part of your training for a later race or toe the line in the 5k as a great way to kick off the outdoor running season.

All 3 races start at beautiful Easton’s Beach and enjoy some of the best sights Newport is famous for – Memorial Blvd., wrought iron gates, historic mansions and sweeping ocean views.   This course was named the Most Scenic in the NorthEast by Competitor Magazine.

So we hope that you can join us in stunning Newport in April – see the daffodils
bloom, witness nature come alive and enjoy the awe inspiring Ocean Dr. as you welcome racing season and launch the start a new running adventure.

Get your BQ in PVD

We often view the Boston Marathon as the BIG brother to the north for our Providence Marathon.  While not in the same size or scale, we are close in date and proximity – and that’s ok. 🙂 #marathongoals

When the bombs hit in 2013, we were struck especially hard.  It hit me personally as it was the first year I wasn’t running it after a number of years of being there and I was so shook by the thought that my kids could have been standing there when it happened.  So scary.

But is also incredibly frightening as we had our own marathon in a few short weeks, just 45 minutes down the road.  It was a scary time for sure.  Long story I will spare you with – but the race went off (albeit with a TON of security) and we had a number of the Boston participants who were unable to finish in the weeks before,  reach their marathon goals in Providence.  It was so amazing to watch the tears of joy, accomplishment, empowerment and relief. It was incredibly moving.

Since that day, it has been a personal goal to help more runners get their BQ at PVD.  We have noticed that we are slowly creeping up the list of the fastest BQ races.  In 2014, we were 84th, in 2015 we were 74th and last year we were 57th!  We want to keep moving up that list!

Providence has a relatively flat course, it is still small enough that you are not weaving through thousands of people to ensure you stay on pace (let’s face it, in a marathon EVERY STEP counts), and we have a great small city vibe!

This year – we have a special prize for those of you that get your pvd-bq-mugBQ in PVD.  Come to the awards tent after the race with your results and we will have a memento of your accomplishment!

Learn more about the race and register here.

Thank you

November is often one of thanks so it is appropriate that I am able to write this note during this grateful month.

Rhode Races & Events has just wrapped up its first year of operations and we are so thankful for you; our participants, our volunteers, our vendors, our sponsors, our Rhode Crew and our partners.  The first year of any business is a challenge and this one has had its fair share – but we have loved every race this year and it is all because we feel like we are with our family and friends.  It isn’t a “job” for us, it is as if we are hosting our family and friends at a party.  We are so grateful you have been a part of our events this year.

We are not sitting back – we have a number of ideas about how to improve for next year. For example, RaceJoy will be free to all participants and will provide live athlete tracking as well as off-course alerts (but we know you won’t need those!).  We are looking to make our races even more eco-friendly with bike valet service from Velofix.  Starting with the Newport race – avoid the shuttles and traffic – bike to the start of the race and leave your bike with Velofix.  We will step up our recycling efforts and partner with more charities to enhance the communities that we are proud to showcase.  We are moving our registration platform to RunSignUp which will have a more robust experience for you as a participant – you can manage your profile, change your race distance, defer your race, see your results and locate some of the photo’s that were taken.  This will all be housed within your profile so you can see your year over year results too.  If you run with your friends – you can receive a refund if they sign up with your referral registration link!  Get enough friends and your race is FREE!  We are updating our Rhode Master Series to include 5 races next year.  We are in the process of creating the medals and swag for those that compete in at least 3 of these races.  It will be even better VIP experience next year for these participants – more to follow!

We continue to learn and evolve and try to make better experiences for all of you.  We will send out a year end survey next month to hear more from you as to what you would like as a runner in 2017.  We want to know what your suggestions and ideas are!

As a way of saying thank you, we have made all our items in our Rhode Races store at 30% off.  Use coupon THANKYOU at our SHOP and pick up some sweet swag that shows off your Rhode Racer status.

And, as a past participant – use code 2016RUNRRE – to save 20% off any of our Rhode Races.  Register at this link before the code expires on 12/1.

Again – we thank you for joining us in our inaugural year.  We hope you will be back next year for even more fun!LIZ_2015.JPG