Chatham Welcomes New November Road Race

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Chatham , Running , Sports

The new Chatham in the Fall run will follow the traditional course of the Chatham Harbor Run, but will take place in cooler weather, which should make many runners super happy. Chronicle File Photo/Kat Szmit

CHATHAM Runners who love the Chatham Harbor Run, but not always the sultry summer conditions of the race, will delight in knowing that there's a new race in town.

Recently the Board of Selectmen approved the Chatham in the Fall 10K road race, officially slated for Nov. 20. Perhaps the best news for dedicated harriers? The new race will follow the same scenic course of the Harbor Run, but ideally with cooler temps.

“For years people who run the one in June have been telling us they would like to run the course sometime other than late June at noon when it's hot and humid and hilly,” said Larry Cole, avid runner and former president of the Cape Cod Athletic Club, which is hosting the event.

According to Cole and current president Howard Tansey, the motivation behind adding another Chatham run mainly involved offering runners the opportunity to traverse the Harbor Run course without the traditional hot June weather, and it was also a chance for the CCAC to return to race sponsorship.

“We've been hearing that for years,” said Cole regarding the weather. “At the same time, the club has wanted to get back in the position of being the sponsor of a race like we used to be years ago. The problem has been the logistics.”

The most significant logistical challenge, Cole said, is making sure there is a strong police detail in place on race day to ensure the safety of runners as the course crosses Route 28 and several busy Chatham intersections.

“Right away there is a big up front cost of police details,” Cole said. “We didn't want to alter the course, but we have to bite off a couple thousand bucks right up front.”

That's why the inaugural fall run will basically be a break-even venture for the CCAC, rather than a race that serves an additional fundraising purpose. However, the more money the club is able to make through the new run, the better, since both Tansey and Cole emphasized its ongoing philanthropy.

“It's a fundraiser for the club,” Tansey said. “That's our big goal [since] we have a lot of youth programs and we donate to a lot of different places on the Cape.”

Such beneficiaries include the David Brazil Memorial Kids Triathlon at Camp Lyndon, the Andrea Holden Foundation and its subsequent Thanksgiving Day race, and Cape Cod Child Development in support of its programs. Tansey said the club is also seeking to rejuvenate its own scholarship program to benefit local athletes.

Though the still-to-be-determined race fees will primarily cover race costs this year, Cole and Tansey said there will be a charitable aspect as the club will likely accept donations or gifts for its Stuff-A-Bus campaign.

“Hopefully that's going to be our kickoff weekend for that,” said Tansey.

Gifts will not be a required part of race registration, but will be welcomed in addition to the sign-up fee, which Tansey said will likely be around $30.

To add a competitive flair to the race, the CCAC is inviting other running clubs to take part in what is being billed as the Invitational Team Challenge Cup Award, similar to the Cape Cod Marathon relay.

“Our club has won their cup three years in a row,” Tansey said, adding that 10 clubs have been invited thus far, with more possible as race day nears.

Prizes will be awarded, as well, though in the first year it's unknown whether there will be enough runners for first, second, and third place finishes.

“We'll do the age groups,” said Tansey. “I don't know if we'll go three deep the first year just because we don't know how many people we'll get.”

The biggest draw, perhaps, is that it's another chance to run a gorgeous course. While there won't be a walking component of the new race, the Chatham in the Fall race will travel the same route as the Harbor Run, which will return to town next June.

“It's a beautiful course,” said Tansey. “It goes over the bridge; goes by the lighthouse; by the fish pier. I mean, Shore Road is just beautiful. That's the big appeal. People want to do this as a race situation when it's cool.”

Tansey, who has run the Harbor Run several times, said he anticipates the cooler weather of Cape Cod in November may mean faster run times for race participants and prove a welcome change of pace for all.

Cole and Tansey are hoping that area hotels and inns will get on board with the new race, offering promotional stays to out-of-area athletes.

“It's very similar to the Falmouth Road Race,” said Tansey. “They also have a Falmouth in the Fall on the exact same course with less people. We're actually looking to turn that the other way where the Chatham in the Fall will have more people when the town could use more people in it.”

Particularly, avid runners.

“Runners,” said Cole, “are good people.”

The new Chatham in the Fall run is slated for Sunday, Nov. 20 beginning at 11 a.m. on the 10K course of the Harbor Run. Registration will be open on the Cape Cod Athletic Club website, www.capecodathleticclub.org, within the next week. Look for more information to follow in the Chronicle's Sports section.