The first race of the New Hampshire Grand Prix is coming up in a couple of weeks (April 5th). The Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, NH hit the road running (no pun intended) two years ago in its debut with over 1200 runners and had over 1100 last year. The folks at Loco Running do put on a well organized race, I must admit. I still think it's a bit pricey, but I sent in my paper app this week (in protest of course).
I ran this race last year (and nearly beat Mark Wimmer, but that's a different story) and it was harder than I expected. Maybe harder is too harsh. I guess I was expecting a flatter, easier course. Maybe challenging or honest is a better description.
I couldn't find my mile splits from last year so I'll go off of memory (which means most of this will be wrong or made up). The first 2.5 miles are fairly easy rollers, nothing hard. The course then jumps onto a dirt road for just over 2.5 miles. Again, some rollers here but mostly this section was slow because of all the pot holes and muddy conditions. Miles 5 to 9 travels along Bay Road and is a real nice stretch of road, very scenic and quiet. It is the toughest part of the course IMHO, reminding me of the roads along Lake Winnipesaukee. A few steep ups and downs before flattening out. Miles 9 to 12 head out on an easy out and back loop towards the bay. Depending on how fast you are you'll either see the fast guys up front or the slow guys behind you, or both as you pass them on the out and back. Finally the last mile heads back into town with a ton of turns so pay attention (unlike Mark!). It climbs slightly, but eventually provides a nice downhill finish to the school.
Goals for this race: none (they can't all be PR's!)