2013 Race Recap: Courtesy Jason Saltmarsh
The inaugural running of the Jingle Bell Half Marathon in Atkinson, NH was fantastic. Mother Nature provided a wintry setting (12 degrees at race start) that tested the grit and determination of all 912 runners. However, the race times were anything but cold with many runners turning in their personal bests and ending the year on a high note. The Atkinson Resort and Country Club proved to be a perfect setting for a classic New England road race and Club LOCO provided top-notch race management services.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: Race parking was plentiful and volunteers did a great job directing traffic. Registration was inside the Atkinson Resort and Country Club in a grand ballroom. Most of the runners were stretching, chatting and staying warm until the last minute. There was a very long line for the bathroom inside (especially the women’s- no surprise), but there were 10 porta potties outside with a very short line.
Race Course: The runners traversed the rolling hills of three towns: Atkinson NH, Salem NH, and Haverhill, MA. The course was challenging at times, but it was also deceptively fast. There were friendly volunteers at every turn and intersection and police presence at every major intersection. Traffic was a bit heavy on Main Street, but overall the traffic was very light. I recall at least three water stops. Energy gels were available at mile 8, and at mile 11 there was an option for runners to grab a warm cup of hot chocolate.