The new year started off on the right foot with the Needham New Year's Day 5K Road Race hosted by the Needham Running Club (NRC). Hundreds of spectators enjoyed the parade of runners and watched as a total of 373 participants crossed the finish line of the new 3.1-mile course in record time.
Andrew Gardiner of Dover was the overall winner of this year’s race with a finishing time of 16:02, a full 28 seconds ahead of the previous 2010 record of 16 minutes 30 seconds held by Timothy Tapply.
The women’s division winner was Amanda Kourtza of Raynham with a record pace of 5:38 per mile, finishing the course in 17:32 and beating her last year’s time by 16 seconds.
Starting and ending at the on Great Plain Avenue, the NRC's annual New Year’s Day race is fast becoming a favorite tradition for many runners in Needham and surrounding communities. The race has been growing in popularity by adding about 100 runners each year with 65 participants in 2009, 165 in 2010, 265 in 2011 and 373 in 2012.
The cool weather this year was not a factor compared to the 2009 race when the temperature held steady in single digits and proved to be a real challenge for the inaugural 65 runners. It was this chilling experience that led the race committee to provide wicking running hats instead of the traditional T-shirt to the first 300 entrants of this year’s race. Prizes were awarded to the top three male and female competitors and several other winner categories along with free raffle prizes.
The top 10 male runners from Needham were as follows:
Name Age Time Place overall1 Charles Beard 23 16:12.7 22David Woodruff 30 16:39.5 43Andrew Beasley 32 17:19.4 54Michael Zimmerman 23 17:49.5 85TJ Velde 39 18:48.4 176Rich Partridge 34 19:05.2 197Harry Hall 15 19:33.6 208John Benner 14 19:34.9 219Michael Davis 54 20:05.7 2810 Allen Downey 44 20:09.2 29
The top 10 female runners from Needham were as follows:NameAge Time Place overall 1 Jean Cantwell 34 21:15.7 462Hilary Donahue 26 21:43.9 513Katie Fishbone 32 22:09.4 604Heidi Fischer 46 22:34.0 695Alison Phillips 48 22:51.3 736Kate Bolles 45 23:36.2 907Kristen Stants 39 23:38.6 978Martha Warner 54 23:44.8 1019Heather Marsh 51 23:58.9 10610Helen Johnson 43 24:18.7 119
The NRS is grateful for the many runners, volunteers and sponsors who help make this annual race a success as well as Race Wire, and the Needham YMCA for their continued support in making this event a Needham tradition. One of the goals of the NRC and the Needham New Year’s Day 5K race is to bring the entire community together throughout the year. Road races inevitably frustrate some drivers, but this year an extra effort was made to avoid not only general traffic concerns but also several of the religious services needed to be coordinated to avoid conflict.
The Needham Running Club, established in 2006, is made up of runners, cyclists and triathletes. The club is open to the public with the goal of providing training partners for athletes of all abilities—from casual runners to Ironmen. What began as informal social events to discuss running, cycling and swimming is now an active running club.
For more information, visit http://www.Needhamrunningclub.com.