By Nick Curcuru
---- — In 2004, the Friends of Seacoast kicked off the first annual Seacoast Seven Road Race starting and finishing at Stage Fort Park.
While only 20 people participated in the inaugural race in 2004, the event continued to grow. Now, fast forward to 2013 and the race is as strong as ever as Saturday will mark the 10th running of the seven-mile road race. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. once again starting and finishing at Stage Fort Park.
All proceeds from the race will go to the Seacoast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Friends of Seacoast, who have been running the event since its existence, have raised over $150,000 for Seacoast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of the last two decades. Friends of Seacoast specializes in raising funds for patient activities including a garden, weekly entertainment and media equipment for its residents.
The race is known for its scenic yet difficult course. Officially certified by USA Track and Field, the Seacoast Seven features several difficult uphill climbs throughout the seven mile loop.
“It can be pretty difficult with the hills,” race director J.D. MacEachern said. “Especially at the beginning of the race.”
The race starts at Stage Fort Park with the runners making their way towards the tennis courts before taking a left onto Western Avenue. After the start and a run down Hesperus Avenue, runners will make it to the Magnolia Back Shore, which follows the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
After looping around Magnolia by way of its back shore and Magnolia Avenue, runners will make their way back to the start/finish line in one last jaunt down Western Avenue.
Ethan Brown of Lowell took home the win in last year’s race with a time of 37:16, nearly three minutes ahead of the next finisher, while Layce Alves won the women’s side of the race last year, one of her several local road race wins of 2012.
Winner will receive a cash prize as first place for gets $150, second place wins $100 and third place $50. Trophies and ribbons will also be awarded to those who win each age group, starting at ages ranging from 10-19 going all the way to the 70 plus division.
Runners can still register for Saturday’s race at seacoastseven.com, applications are also available at the Lone Gull Coffee Shop and Palazola’s Sporting Goods, both on Main Street. Registration fee is $25.