Summer means longer days and with that, evening races. Between May and September, it is not uncommon to see a 5 Miler or 5K race on a Thursday evening.
Not in Newburyport though. Newburyport does it big.
July 30 was the 54th Annual Yankee Homecoming 10 Mile and 5K Races, held at Newburyport high school. According to the race website, the race began in 1960 with just 30 runners and a course 8 miles long. As the race grew in popularity, the shorter option was added. Jon Pearson has directed the race for the last 32 years.
Friends of mine in Newburyport have run this race for years. Dale Ann Granger-Eckert ran her first Yankee Homecoming race in 2002 when she ran the 5K after she turned 50. Since then she has run the 10 Miler every year since. Her husband, Dale Bob Eckert ran the 5K for the first time in 2001 and joined his wife for the 5K again in 2002. He has also run the 10 Miler every year since, with the exception of 2007, when he walked the 5k while undergoing chemotherapy. “We kinda have to do this since it’s tradition,” he told me. Coming back from an injury, he admitted he was undertrained for this year’s race but of course he will run. His only complaint about the race is that he is disappointed that they don’t serve hot dogs at the end anymore.
I ran this race for the first time last year. Despite a humid evening and achy hamstring, I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t make it back this year, so I asked Dale and Dale for their thoughts on this week’s race. Here is what Dale Ann had to say:
“It was a perfect night for Yankee. 10 miles on a summer evening is tough but the temperature, considering the recent heat waves, was runnable without the humidity.
For locals it is great because you see all your friends and neighbors out cheering along the route. That makes you run a little faster too. It is always like a mini Boston (Marathon) with the crowd support. There was one good neighbor offering sample cups of a local brew early on. You look for the regular cheering stations - the boom box and party about mile 4.5. Lots of music as well as hoses for misting. Crowds were there all along the way. Market Square is always full and there are still people even out by Maudslay State Park. Great race support from the cops and even snack and water still available for those of us coming in with the mosquitoes as the sun goes down."
This year’s race had almost 1300 runners finish the 10 Miler and almost 1900 finish the 5K. Check out the race results here.
The race starts at 6pm, making it necessary to work a half day (or duck out of work early) to make it to the start on time if you are coming from the Boston area or further. Other than that, the Yankee Homecoming 10 Mile and 5K race is a really nice, well organized evening race for the middle of the summer. Consider putting it on your race calendar next summer. http://www.yankeerace.com
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