New Hampshire Grand Prix

Club members scour race results after completing the Nashua Soup Kitchen 5k, the first race in the New Hampshire Grand Prix.

Club members scour race results after completing the Nashua Soup Kitchen 5k, the first race in the New Hampshire Grand Prix.

Remember when Stay Work Play filled you in on the Granite State’s Running Clubs? The New Hampshire Grand Prix adds another reason to join one, adding competition and taking teamwork to the next level.

New Hampshire Grand Prix (NHGP) is an annual road running series for New Hampshire running clubs. Races are open to the public, but to compete in the series the runner must belong to a New Hampshire club with a Road Runners Club of America membership. There are ten participating clubs and seven races in the series.

I participated in the first race of this year’s series with the Upper Valley Running Club (UVRC)– the Nashua Soup Kitchen 5k. It was a well-organized event. Participants ran through a quiet, charming neighborhood complete with water stops. Volunteers were plentiful, pre and post race massages were available, a post race meal was served, and the race supported a great cause.

Even Miss New Hampshire, to my right, and her crew participated in the first race of the New Hampshire Grand Prix.

Even Miss New Hampshire, on my left, and her crew participated in the first race of the New Hampshire Grand Prix. Photo by Hillary Young.

In Geoff Dunbar’s experience, NHGP series races are always well-organized and managed. Dunbar is President of UVRC and serves on a committee of club representatives. He explains that clubs submit a few races and the committee meets to decide which ones will be in the series. “Goals in putting together the overall series are to include all clubs who actively participate, ensure a good mix of distances, and spread the races through the running season,” Dunbar says. A race cannot be a part of the series for more than two years in a row.

I was hesitant to participate in the series. In fact, I wrote to Dunbar last year asking if my participation could hurt the team. I’m THAT slow! Even though I often write about running, I don’t enjoy it all that much while I’m doing it. Like Maggie Ringey recently explained, I don’t get that “runner’s high.”

I’m all about the reward that comes with running, though, and I enjoy the team camaraderie. While I usually slow down when the going gets tough, I struggled to maintain my pace through the streets of Nashua, wanting to do my best for my team. In the end, I was told I actually scored a point for UVRC! One race in and now I’m hooked.

Upper Valley Running Club, pictured here, went home with 85 points, earning third place standing in the series competition.

Upper Valley Running Club, pictured here, went home with 85 points, earning third place standing in the series competition after the first race and trailing Greater Derry Track Club (177 points) and Granite City Striders (176 points). Granite State Racing Team and Rochester Runners also put some points on the board.

Other upcoming races in this year’s NHGP series include:

UVRC Club member, Cindy Edson, earned Granite Runner status in 2013 . . . and a hoodie!

UVRC Club member, Cindy Edson, earned Granite Runner status in 2013 . . . and a hoodie!

Additionally, the NHGP offers the opportunity to achieve “Granite Runner” status.  NHGP’s scorekeeper, Mike Gilberti, says the series defines a “Granite Runner” as a club participant who finishes all seven races in the series. Granite Runners receive a reward at the end of the year.

I want to be a Granite Runner! How about you?

2 Responses to “New Hampshire Grand Prix”

  1. Cindy EdsonApril 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Shanon, great article. I am glad you came to the race and look forward to sharing more van rides with you throughout the series. Good race!
    Cindy

  2. Shanon HounshellApril 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Thanks, Cindy, and definitely! By the way, I especially appreciated the introduction to Granite State Candy Shoppe afterward, which I failed to mention – the best part! 😉

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