If you have 5 minutes, read this great piece that appeared on Seacoast Online last week, by our 10K winner Bob Wiles. Thanks Bob!
Thanks to people like Bob we saw a big increase in registrations and, despite some pretty horrible weather conditions, we even had 10% increase in finishers this year!
Its certainly understandable that some who registered weeks ago decided not to run when they heard the thunder Saturday morning or started the drive to Durham in the pouring rain. But as Bob describes in his article below, Josh and Nate served as inspiration for everyone on a less than perfect race day. Lots of smiles in the rain.
The memory of Josh and Nate helps me often when the going gets rough and Bob describes how it helped him win last year’s 5K – and probably helped him this year in the 10K!
Stay tuned for more post-race information. Huge thank you to all of our sponsors and donors (I’ll name everyone in my next update) and to all of the runners who braved the weather and joined us on this incredible annual event. Thanks!
Sense of community surrounds Durham’s Bobcat Bolt race
By Bob Wiles
June 22, 2011 2:00 AM
Last May I was looking for a race to fill in my schedule when I heard about the Bobcat Bolt in Durham. It was offering a 5K and a 10K, which was nice because I didn’t decide which distance I wanted to run until the night before. I decided to run the 5K and drove up to Oyster River High School to check it out and test my luck against whoever else might show up.
When I got there and started looking around, I got the feeling that this wasn’t just another little race for a good cause. This event had the feel of love and support from the minute I drove into the parking lot and that sense of community and caring was the theme that carried on throughout the registration process, before and during the race, and for the great festival that was taking place after the race.
While I was at the race I started to piece together the history surrounding the event and learned that both the Bobcat Bolt and the Oyster River Festival were held in memory of Josh and Nate Hardy. From talking to a few people at the festival after the race I learned that Josh and Nate were brothers who both lost their lives very young. Josh battled brain cancer and Nate was a Navy SEAL who gave his life in defense of his country in 2008.
The race went off without a hitch, with the 5K and 10K running together for 3 miles before the 10K group carried on without us. It was exciting to be able to finish the race and then watch the 10K finish just a little while later.
As I was driving home after a fun morning of running, eating and talking with friendly people at the festival, I promised myself that I wouldn’t miss this race next year. Well, this year’s Bobcat Bolt and Oyster River Festival are taking place on Saturday. The race starts at 9 a.m. and there is a kids fun run at 10:15. The festival is immediately following the race.
The proceeds from the Bobcat Bolt and the Oyster River Festival go to the Oyster River Teen Initiative for the construction of a youth center in Durham in the names of Josh and Nate Hardy. There will be a smile on my face as I make my contribution on Saturday morning.
In addition to being a well run race by wonderful people for a great cause, the race website is one of the cleanest and easiest to navigate that I’ve seen. You can easily find all the necessary information at www.bobcatbolt.com. They have directions to the start, information for volunteers, prizes, past results and online registration.
The website also has touching information about both Josh and Nate. I challenge you to look at the section on the website called “About Josh & Nate” and check out the video in that section with dry eyes. I’ve tried several times and can’t get through it without choking up.
You know, we all have our own little tricks for dealing with the discomfort that always accompanies a hard race. At the risk of giving away a trade secret, I can honestly say that I’ve thought about Nate Hardy in the middle of at least five races in the last year. When the going gets tough and I start to feel sorry for myself and want to give up, I think about the sacrifices that brave people like Nate have made and it makes the pain of a road race seem trivial and silly. I’m not quite sure how my little brain works, but for some reason that thought encourages me to dig deeper and fight harder.
If you really want to know about the course, I’ll tell you that the 5K starts with a fun lap around the school where the spectators get to see you buzz by before heading over toward the UNH campus. The first mile hits a valley where you go down about 60 feet and then up about 80, but from there it is mostly flat for the second mile and the third mile is all flat or downhill, making for a fast finish. It is the kind of 5K where patience in the first mile can be rewarded with a really fast finish.
The first half of the 10K course is the same as the 5K and even comes back through the high school parking lot before heading up Bagdad Road and out to Perkins Road before turning around and heading back. The last mile of the race is through the same neighborhood as the first mile of Todd’s Trot, which is known for its rolling profile.
Last year there were 191 finishers in the 5K and 65 10K runners. I’m hoping there are 10 times that many people supporting this great race this year. I would love to see the Seacoast running community overwhelm this event with support and generosity. If the flood I’m hoping for comes to fruition, I’ll skip the race and volunteer to help out with registrations!
Bob Wiles lives in Kittery, Maine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.