The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Courtesy of the Manchester City Marathon, Powered by SNHU.

Fall/winter 2016 New Hampshire marathons

Clarence DeMar Marathon & Half Marathon, Keene, Sunday, Sept. 25,
New Hampshire Marathon, Half Marathon, Bristol, Saturday, Oct. 1,
Joe English Twilight Challenge Marathon, Half Marathon & Ultra, Amherst, Saturday, Oct. 15,
LOCO Marathon & Half Marathon Newmarket, Sunday, Oct. 23,
Manchester City Marathon powered by SNHU, Half Marathon, Manchester, Sunday, Nov. 6,
Fall/winter 2016 N.H. half marathons
Swanzey Covered Bridges Half Marathon, Swanzey, Sunday, Sept. 4,
Half Full Races, Portsmouth, Sunday, Sept. 18,
Dixville Half Marathon & Relay, Colebrook, Saturday, Sept. 24,
Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon, Hampton, Sunday, Oct. 2,
CHaD Hero Half Marathon, Hanover, Sunday, Oct. 16,
New England Half Marathon, Concord, Sunday, Oct. 23,
White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, North Conway, Sunday, Oct. 30,
Seacoast Half Marathon, Portsmouth, Sunday, Nov. 13,
Wolf Hollow Half Marathon, Nashua, Sunday, Nov. 20,
Jingle Bell Half Marathon, Atkinson, Sunday, Dec. 4,

Go big or go home
Running half, full marathons in New Hampshire

By Kelly Sennott

 Half marathons and marathons are kind of like the new 5K. More and more are cropping up all over New Hampshire, and as a result, more and more Granite Staters are knocking those distances off their bucket lists. And while they’re not quite as accessible as all the 5K fun runs and walks out there (i.e., training is almost certainly required), there are plenty of runners out there who consider longer races to be their idea of fun.

Half, full marathon boom
Larry Gagnon, race director of the Manchester City Marathon, Powered by SNHU, said he’s noticed long-distance running has become more popular in the Northeast especially. 
“Running a marathon is a challenge. I’ve heard many people tell me it’s a bucket list item,” Gagnon said via phone. “And half marathons are a step in that direction. People looking to run a marathon will likely run maybe three half marathons in order to build up to that distance. … As far as the options, there are some really good races in the area.”
In New Hampshire, there’s a whole slew of half and full marathons to choose from, their routes lining the coastline, following the state’s trails and trekking through its mountain ranges. New ones pop up every year. 
Gagnon suspects the social aspect of the races has helped their popularity, as have their variety and flexibility. Many races have full, half or relay options, giving racers stepping stones while they work their way up to the longer, more challenging courses. 
“It also comes down to the reward. There’s this chemical inside us, these endorphins, that say, look what I accomplished! I can go get that feeling again!” he said.
Naturally, the 13.1-mile half is more accessible to more people than the 26.2-mile marathon.
“I think it’s gotten popular because people see it is do-able. You can be a person who runs just three or four times a week to complete a half marathon,” said Rene Whiteley, a Runner’s Alley running coach, via phone. 
A marathon is the big distance, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
“A marathon — that’s a lot of work. You have to be willing to give up Saturday or Sunday mornings to run for three or four hours,” Whiteley said.
Whiteley urges first-time half- or full-marathoners to choose races with tight community atmospheres that are close to home. Her first marathon, for instance, was the Manchester City Marathon, and she knew that after the race, she could go home, eat food cooked by her husband and take a nap. 
For half marathons, Whiteley typically gives herself 12 weeks. For marathons, she aims for 18. 
To motivate yourself, register for a race; most half marathons and marathons in the state cost $60 or more, so it’s not a small financial commitment. 
“If I spend the money, then I know I’m going to train for it,” she said.
The tricky part is sticking with it. Whiteley advises finding a group to run with; there are lots in the state, from the Runner’s Alley group runs (at each of the locations, in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth) to running clubs (like NH Athletic Alliance, Gate City Striders, Greater Derry Track Club or Granite State Racing Team; visit for a list). 
Group support is how New Hampshire resident Colleen Flynn got into running. Her first races were 5Ks in Manchester — the Shamrock Shuffle and Cigna 5K, the latter of which she trained for with help from the Runner’s Alley beginner 5K program. Then she took on the half through its beginner half marathon training group and has since twice run the Wallis Sands Half Marathon. Next on the list is the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November to celebrate her 50th birthday.
“My best training tip is to keep running. There are good runs and bad runs. My philosophy is just get out there for a run, of any time or [distance], and it’s a win,” Flynn said.
Some people like to listen to music while they run. Some go for audiobooks or podcasts or choose runs with nice scenery. 
“I’m not a big music pusher, just because of the safety issues. You need to be hearing what’s going on around you. Some people can only run with music, but I advise these people to just keep one ear bud in,” Whiteley said.
After that, it’s taking one mile at a time. Whiteley tells runners that if you can run for one hour, you can run for two. Small steps are key. Put reminders on your phone if you need to.
Race day
On race day, it’s important not to try anything new. 
“[In the running group] we talk a lot about food. Race morning is not the morning to eat an Egg McMuffin,” Whiteley said.
To get through the race, Whiteley breaks it down into sections and thinks about those distances as compared to those she always runs. Six miles left? That’s the run she does near Derryfield. Three? That’s the turkey trot loop she runs on Thanksgiving. Or you could break the race up in terms of water stops.
“I’m very big in walking through the water stops so you can get a drink,” Whiteley said.
Flynn said she used to wonder what she’d think about for 13 miles, but she found it wasn’t an issue; normally she’s taking in the views or running with a buddy.
Whiteley said self-talk is great too.
“I started telling myself, you’re so lucky you get to do this! There are some people who can’t do this. Put a smile on your face. It’s all about enjoying the day. You worked hard for it,” she said. 

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