By Jay Kumar
---- — Once upon a time, the 10K was a common road race distance. But in recent years it has taken a back seat to 5Ks, 5-milers and even half marathons. On the North Shore, there are only a handful of 10Ks remaining on the race calendar.
A new event making its debut next month hopes to address that deficit.
The Bridge and Back 10K is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4 at 8 a.m., starting at the Tavern in the Square in Salem. The course runs across the Beverly-Salem Veterans Memorial Bridge and back.
The event benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, said race director Doug Bollen, who is also chief operating officer at the Boys and Girls Club.
“Although I was not looking to start a new race I noticed the lack of 10k races in the area, and many runners remember the Salem Heritage 10K, started by Rich Stafford around 1960 and lasting about 35 years, which traditionally kicked off Salem Heritage Week,” Bollen said. “10K was a popular distance back then, but after 2000 the 5Ks became more popular, most likely because they are easier to manage as a race director, more cost effective due to less course support needed, and there is a bigger pool of runners who can set a 5K race as a goal.”
Over the last decade, Bollen helped spearhead the resurgence of road races in Salem as director of the Parks, Recreation and Community Services department. Currently, he directs the Wild Turkey 5-Mile run on Thanksgiving Day — and feels the Bridge and Back will fill a need.
“While a 10K is more challenging, it fits into the North Shore race scene well, as there are so few races this distance and the course is new. Salem has a large running community, and has been designated a Road Runners Club of America Runner Friendly Community,” said Bollen.
The 10K’s course will also set it apart.
“I think road races nowadays have to be unique to survive, whether they are a holiday tradition, or have a special theme or event tie-in,” Bollen said. “I don’t believe a race over the bridge to Beverly and back has ever been done, and it will be a great scenic run with a lot of waterfront, including Dane Street Beach and the bypass road in Salem.”
Bollen has met with police in Salem and Beverly to discuss the challenges of holding a race on the busy bridge.
“I have full confidence it will work out well, and will be using a lot of traffic cones as runners will be running both ways in the northern breakdown lane of the bypass road. The police will be covering major intersections, and it looks like a Salem Police motorcycle will be leading the run,” he said.
“It’s a challenge for sure, but I think runners will enjoy it and be tested at the same time. The overall course has some rolling hills, including the bridge.”
Since this is the first Bridge and Back 10K, Bollen said changes may be made for 2014 based on feedback from officials and participants.
Registration information is available at www.salemroadraces.com/. Runners can also register online at Racewire.com or pick up applications at New England Running Company or at the Boys & Girls Club of Salem. Runners can also register the morning of the race at the Tavern in the Square in Salem.
Starts and stops:
If you’re looking to get some Friday night running in, check out the third annual Miles Over the Moon 4-mile race tomorrow night in Salem. Presented by Wicked Running Club, the race starts at 8 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 94 Washington Square East. The event is a fast, flat run through the historic streets of Salem. For more information, contact: Alison Phelan (Wicked Running Club) at 1-978-998-0118 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to email@example.com.
Saturday: Greenbelts 6th Annual Run for the Hills 5K and 10K Trail Race, Pingree Reservation, Pingree School, 537 Highland St., South Hamilton, 9 a.m. The 10K is part of the North Shore Trail Series. Contact: Essex County Greenbelt at 1-978-768-7241 x22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 17: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail email@example.com.
Wednesday, July 17 44th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, July 18: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact email@example.com.
Saturday, July 20: 10th Annual Seacoast Seven Road Race, Stage Fort Park, Route 127 North, Gloucester, 8 a.m. Contact: JD MacEachern (Seacoast Seven Race Committee) at 1-978-283-6316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, July 20: 5th Annual Wicked Kidz Race, Forest River Park, Clifton Avenue, Salem, 9 a.m. Half-mile and 1-mile races for kids. Contact: Tim Short (Salem Park and Recreation) at 1-978-744-0180 x20 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, July 24: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 24: 44th Annual Lynn Woods Summer Cross Country, Lynn Woods, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from May 29-Sept. 25. Free. Three races. Contact: Bill Mullen (Lynn Woods Summer XC) at 1-978-535-3905 or email email@example.com.