The 42nd Annual New Bedford Half Marathon is upon us! Maybe you aren’t running the race, but you likely know someone who is, or is somehow associated with it. Between runners, spectators, sponsors, supporters, race organizers and the local business community, it’s nearly impossible not to cross paths with someone touched by this New Bedford tradition in some way. Groundwork sits cozily on the first half mile stretch of the race route, and we’d happily hand you a cup of water when you trot by, but we’re so close to the starting line that you’ll likely prefer a crisp high five at that stage of the game.
Dan McCarthy, a member of The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and the Volunteer Race Director, was generous enough to provide us with some insight on this year’s race. The Friendly Sons have been involved with the race since 2009 and have seen a noticeable increase in participation over the last few years. They hope to continue that momentum and carry on the excitement this race brings to New Bedford.
First time running the NB Half?
Dan warns of a few tricky spots on the route, including the steepest hill of the route at mile 3, the possible wind on West Rodney French Blvd., and then encountering this race’s version of “Heartbreak Hill” on County Street as you near the finish line. Nothing crazy, but all good to know about in advance.
A Global Draw
New England participation numbers are certainly abundant at this race, but you may be surprised to know that there is an impressive global draw to the event as well. Who has travelled the farthest? Likely contenders included Scotland, New Zealand, and all 50 states over the last 41 years, according to Dan.
Park and cheer and eat and shop!
Between race day excitement and St. Patrick’s Day festivities, downtown New Bedford is sure to be buzzing on March 17th! The starting line/finish line will be set up right outside of City Hall, and the free post race meal (for runners only!) will be held at the YMCA. Worried about parking? Fear not! Parking in the City garages will be free at both the Purchase St. and Elm St. locations. So gather your friends and family, and head downtown to celebrate and cheer on the runners! For registration and more information on the race, visit newbedfordhalfmarathon.com