In our efforts to provide a better overall experience for our participants, we have decided to switch our on-course energy hydration to Nuun.
Nuun is a better option than our current product for a number of reasons. From the nutritional aspect, Nuun is non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free and provides a better electrolyte replacement. They offer clean ingredients that will allow your body to stay healthy and hydrated. There are no sugars or carbs and it is light on flavor.
From an environmental standpoint – Nuun is committed to living clean by examining their practices and principles. Recycling is a key part of their business as is the drive to minimize their environmental impact.
By switching to Nuun, not only will this allow us to further reduce our waste, but more importantly – we believe this product to be better for your performance and your body.
We had done a lot of research in determing what is best for our on course hydration and we believe that Nuun is the best solution in the market.
As an athlete, I made the switch to Nuun years ago as I found the alternative too sticky sweet and full of chemicals. Nuun was easy on my belly and provided the electrolyte replacement that kept me hydrated. I believe in this product and this company and am happy to provide it on our courses.
We will continue to offer Gatorade on our courses for the next few races while we make this transition so you will have an option when you past through our aid stations.
This race is truly one of my favorites. Although I may say that about all our races…. 🙂 But it features so many things about a race course that I love – architecture, history, vivid colors, boats, farms, beautiful seascapes and stunning twists and turns with a suprise at every corner. That’s a lot to fit in to one half marathon?!! I’ll explain.
To start, when I created this course – I took two races that I personally loved to run. Bristol used to host a 10 miler in November. It started at Guiteras School – the school with the view – and ran downtown, using High St and Thames St., before heading out to the water. Another race that I run every year is the Hangover Classic – a 5 miler, with the best trophies ever! It starts in the cove on Poppasquash before heading into Colt State Park through Coggeshall Farm. Both of these races were managed by East Bay Striders and
my friend and mentor, Brian Beausoleil.
When I was creating the idea of a Half Marathon in Bristol, I could not think of a prettier time to run than during the 4th of July. The town just comes alive in color. Red, white and blue every where – even the stripe in the middle of the street gets freshened up every year. Every house gets in on the action to decorate for the Oldest 4th of July Celebration in America. Bristol is THE place to be in RI during the 4th of July.
So it was between these 3 ideas that the course was born – I wanted to use some of the parade route so that everyone could see the majesty of Bristol’s proudest moment but I also wanted to show off the quaint downtown, the historic homes and the rich sailing and boating history. My favorite road in town – Poppasquash – includes water views on both sides and the Bristol Yacht Club as it weaves out to the far entrance to Colt State Park. To get to Colt State Park, you run right through the historic working Coggeshall Farm. Look for the bulls, goats and other animals that graze the grass while you run through.
The far loop of the course is Colt State Park – you will enjoy miles of gorgeous views of Narragansett Bay as well as the beautiful landscaping of the park, the old stone “castle” from the former stables of the Colt Family but also the back trails that include suprise views of estuaries and stone bridges.
Mile 1 – The Lobster Pot Restaurant and the America’s Cup Museum. An amazing view of Mt. Hope Bridge.
Mile 2 – the turn onto Mt. Hope Ave – near the Town Common and usually staffed by my favorite running group – The Rhode Island Road Runners
Mile 3 – coming back past the Town Common, the “school district” – you will take the turn onto the parade route just after this mile marker
Mile 4 – turning from the bike path onto Poppasquash – a narrow stretch of road with water on both sides and a rock wall separating you from the harbor. SO PRETTY!
Mile 5 – just past the Bristol Yacht Club on tree lined Poppasquash, heading into Coggeshall Farm
Mile 6 – heading down “Surprise Hill” in Colt State Park, ready for a long stretch of an ocean run?
Mile 7 – near the Boat launch and heading into richly manicured park grounds
Mile 8 – you made it up the hill, around the grass and heading back to the finish!!!!
Mile 9 – in the woods of the trails, reminiscent of our cross country days! I love the peek-a-boo views of the estuaries through the woods.
Mile 10 – up a short little hill, around a corner and past the stoic John Chaffee statue who looks over Narragansett Bay.
Mile 11 – backside of Colt State park, before you make the turn back into Coggeshall Farm. Once you are back on Coggeshall, make sure you look left for another peek-a-boo view of some pretty water.
Mile 12 – rounding the corner on Poppasquash with that amazing harbor on your right. Enjoy the peaceful sailboats bobbing away.
Mile 13! – just after the end of the bike path – you can hear the DJ and see the finish arch!
Mile 13.1 – Independence Park! You did it!
There really is only one major hill – around mile 8 – as you make the climb from the Park to the entrance of Bristol’s Rec Center, cross a grass path and then head back down and out to the finish.
The course is fast and full of turns, which I love as I always feel so fast on a corner! But I also feel a lot of corners in a longer race helps as you have short term goals to get you to the finish line – “I just need to reach that corner and see what comes next….” “Ok – made that corner, there’s the next one, let’s get there….” And as a former XC runner, I love the feeling of running through the woods, as you will experience around mile 9.
The race starts and finishes right on the water in Independence Park, the scene of the nightly concerts of which Bristol is so famous. So plan on spending the day or the weekend in this quintessial American small town – it fully emcompasses all that we celebrate in July.
I don’t think words can express how grateful and humbled we are after this weekend’s events. For those that have been following along – this race has been a challenge. Every year it is a challenge as it is a logistical nightmare running 3000 people through a downtown City using 3 courses and 4 municipalities. But this year was especially difficult for a number of reasons – but the overwhelming support and kind words have brought us to near tears.
We started this company as we wanted to “do good.” It seems trite but after our previous experiences, we knew things
could be done differently. I have been a runner for a LONG time and our participants are like family to me, a kinship. Karen comes from a hospitality background and it is just in her nature to treat people well. When runners come to a race, we wanted to treat them like guests in our home. Walt Disney had personified this initially with the idea that park go-ers are “guests.” This is truly how we felt.
But we had some legal battles in this race, some hurdles we had to overcome. These battles gave us some serious concerns in our ability to even put on the race financially. We did have to cut some corners in our budget that we normally would not want to cut. It was incredibly razor thin in order to survive. We analyzed EVERY line item, hunted out every bargain and did away with a lot of waste. We asked our vendors to sharpen their pencils and they were incredibly supportive. We worked smarter, not harder.
But we made it through the race. And the feed back has been so positive. We were not perfect, but we are listening and we can continue to improve. We LOVE to hear the stories, the happy faces, the cheering supporers, the amazing sense of positivity that is at every finish line. This race has humbled us and made us so grateful to every runner, volunteer, vendor, Rhode Crew, police officer, security, fire and the THOUSANDS of individuals it takes to put on this race.