News : Fast Festive 5k Benefits Great Cause

Oct 6, 2015
Originally published on Patch.com
 
By Anne Twombly
 
STRATHAM - For many fall is a time to reflect on the ecological beauty of the state before the warm weather dissipates. It’s only natural that The Great Bay Stewards, an organization dedicated to conservation and preservation of the New Hampshire’s Great Bay Estuary, would host their annual 5k at the apex of the season. This year the race will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 24 at Sandy Hill Road in Stratham.
 
The Great Bay 5K Road Race is a primary fundraiser for the Great Bay Stewards, with proceeds supporting the non-profit’s educational programs and facility maintenance. Along with facilitating erosion control efforts, invasive species removal, and runoff prevention campaigns, the non-profit also staffs the Great Bay Discovery Center, an educational hub of the Research Reserve. 
 
The Discovery Center offers visitors a chance to learn more about ecology and marine biology issues involving the Great Bay. The Stewards help manage over 6,000 acres of protected land. Only one acre is developed, which houses the Great Bay Discovery Center, with the other 5,999 acres providing prime estuary habitat, recreation space and undisturbed wetland area.
 
The point-to-point course for the Great Bay 5k leads runners past beautiful views of the race’s namesake.
 
“We have a fabulously scenic course,” said Peter Wellenberger, Executive Director of Great Bay Stewards. 
 
Competitors start at Sandy Point Road in Stratham, continuing along Rt. 33, through quiet neighborhoods before finishing at the Great Bay Discovery Center on Depot Road in Greenland.
 
Since the course is point-to-point, a complimentary bag van at Stratham Hill Park will be available for runners to store clothing and personal items for when they complete the race, which will be brought to the Great Bay Discovery Center. Additionally, free shuttles from the finish area will return finishers to Jack Rabbit Lane near Stratham Hill Park. There is also a one-mile walking short cut down Depot Road back to the start, which could make an excellent cool down opportunity for runners. 
 
A rolling sixteen years of success and popularity for this annual fundraiser can be attributed to the great cause the proceeds serve, but also to the fantastic course and wide spectrum of runners the race serves.
 
Aside from its natural scenic beauty, the topography of the course is predominantly downhill, giving competitive runners an opportunity to race a new personal best time. There are also lucrative cash awards for the top three-female and male finishers, as well as an added bonus for new course records, which draws in a variety of runners from around New England. Additionally, the Mckenzie Mile, named after local resident Jim Mackenzie, offers the first male and female runners to cross this one-mile mark within the 5k - and who complete the rest of the race at a similar pace - an additional monetary prize. 
 
“Usually the fastest male and female runners in the first mile win the whole thing, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Wellenberger said. “Occasionally you’ll get a runner who is really quick at the start and wins this prize, but isn’t the overall winner.”
 
As much as these incentives stoke the competitive fire among the elites, remains open to everyone. It’s an excellent opportunity for the whole family as well. There will be awards for top age group finishers as well as top male and female walkers. Strollers are welcome for non-elite racers who don’t mind a start from behind. A water stop will also be available near the halfway point. 
 
A free kids fun run will take place from the finish of the 5k for children ages two to 10 years old. 
 
“The kids run is really nice for families with small children, not all races have that,” Wellenberger said. 
 
In the spirit of Halloween, creative costumes are encouraged and equally incentivized with a cash prize for the best female and male festive racers. The same contest will take place among fun run racers, with awards as well. 
 
After the 5k and fun run, participants are invited to enjoy refreshments and a brief award ceremony at 10:15 a.m. at the Discovery Center. The organization will also be announcing the winners of it’s two ongoing raffle prizes for two hot air balloon ride tickets and two off road bicycles. 
 
Tickets can be purchased on the Great Bay Stewards website with all proceeds benefitting the cause up until the event.
 
Seacoast Spine & Sports Injuries Clinic will also be available for restorative post-race massages.
 
As an added environmental initiative, the Great Bay Stewards is a Business Partner with the Green Alliance, a local community of sustainable businesses and likeminded consumers. This year, as a thank-you to everyone for running and raising money to support the Great Bay Stewards, the Green Alliance will be donating an environmental gift basket to a randomly drawn runner in the bottom tier of overall finishers.
 
Preregistration and bib pick-up will be available at the Great Bay Discovery Center on Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23 from noon to 6 p.m. Registration will also be available at Stratham Hill Park (Rt. 33) on race day from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
 
To learn more information about the Great Bay 5k and to pre-register the race, visit www.greatbaystewards.org/2015GB5K.cfm

For more on the good work of the Great Bay Stewards, visit www.greatbaystewards.org

To learn more about the Green Alliance and all of it’s other local business partners visit www.greenalliance.biz