AS WE come to the end of the 2013 New Hampshire road race/triathlon scene, I look back at some of the top stories of the year.
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: It may not be a Granite State event but, obviously, it had a big impact on the New Hampshire scene. Hundreds of New Hampshire runners took part, many others were at the race as volunteers, spectators, and staff, and everyone else knew someone was there. In other words, the biggest tragedy in American road race history was personal for Granite Staters. In the days that followed we read about some New Hampshire citizens who had been injured by the explosions and prayed for their recovery. Throughout the remainder of the year shirts declaring "Boston Strong" were everywhere at New Hampshire races as the local running scene started on the road to recovery.
SHAKEUP WITH ONE OF THE BIGGEST RACES: On Oct. 6, more than 4,500 runners and walkers took part in the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon/Marathon in Hampton, making it the biggest long distance race in New Hampshire history. Unfortunately the days that followed brought discontent from Hampton residents who complained about roads being tied up for too long. Last week the race organizers, LOCO Sports, announced that in 2014 the Smuttynose Rockfest event would be only a half marathon. As for the marathon? Tentative plans are to hold it in late October. Specific details are yet to be determined.
CHANGES IN THE TRIATHLON SCHEDULE: Prior to 2013 triathletes from New Hampshire, and beyond, gathered in this state for two major triathlon events, the Mooseman Triathlon Festival in Bristol and the Black Fly Triathlon Festival in Waterville Valley. In 2013, both events disappeared. World Triathlon Corporation decided to discontinue Mooseman and efforts by other individuals to keep the event going fell through.
Keith Jordan and his company, Endorfun Sports, made the decision not to continue their race, Black Fly.
The disappearance of both triathlon events left a void on the New Hampshire multi-sport scene. A new half iron event was created, the White Mountain Triathlon in Franconia, but in its first year the numbers were not close to Mooseman or Waterville Valley.
The good news? New Hampshire's signature triathlon, the Timberman Triathlon Festival in Gilford, saw record numbers in August.
RECORD NUMBER AT CIGNA/ELLIOT: On Aug. 8, 5,475 runners and walkers finished the Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race in Manchester. Using "timed finishers" as the measuring stick for the size of a race, it was the largest number of finishers in New Hampshire road race history. At the front of the pack was Aschalew Meketa of New York City who won in 14 minutes, two seconds. Meketa's time was one of the fastest ever run at a New Hampshire 5K.
CANCELLATION OF A BIG RACE: Heavy snow forced cancellation of the Half at the Hampton's Half Marathon in February. Close to 1,500 were signed up for the race making the largest race ever to be canceled in New Hampshire.
FASTEST 5K IN NEW HAMPSHIRE HISTORY: On June 13, close to 1,400 runners and walkers took part in the Hollis Fast 5K in Hollis and this year the race was part of the USA Track and Field-New England Grand Prix Series. The course was too fast for USATF records and it showed in the results. Four runners broke 14:00, 22 broke 15:00, and 78 broke 16:00.
The Hollis Fast 5K was not the only stop in New Hampshire for the New England Grand Prix Series. The seven race schedule wrapped up on Nov. 3 at the Anthem Manchester City Marathon, giving New Hampshire two races in the 2013 New England Series.
MORE BIG RACES: The "1,000 Club" is the name given to races that draw 1,000 or more finishers.
In 2013 there were a record 29 events that made the list. The Mount Washington Road Race, Cinco De Miles 5K, Hinkley Allen 5K/One Miler, Ribfest Five Miler, and Halfway to St. Patrick's Day 5K made the list for the first time.
Another sign of the growth of big races: seven races had over 2,000 finishers, the most ever in New Hampshire.
All in all it has been a great year for New Hampshire road races and triathlons.Running shorts: It was quite a sight when hundreds of runners and walkers took part in the Dec. 7 BASC Santa Claus Shuffle in Manchester, many of them decked out in the Santa suits that came with the entry. ... Concord's Nacho Hernando, who won the Frozen 5K in Laconia earlier in the day, was the men's winner, giving him two wins on the same day. Newfield's Melissa Murray, who won the race in 2011, was the women's winner. ... Speaking of the Frozen 5K, the women's winner Laconia's Abby Wood. ... Want to run one more race before the end of year. Be in Concord on Dec. 21, for the Winter Solstice 4 Miles for Habitat for Humanity.
Andy Schachat's column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News/ Email him at email@example.com.