When running road races beyond 5ks and 10ks, there are usually one or two stretches of the course that are just a bit dull. You find yourself jogging along a highway for some incalculable length of time or circling a very large, very barren parking lot under a scorching sun. Once you’ve run a few long races, you start to expect that some part of it will suck, morally and aesthetically. Not every every mile of a long race will come with uplifting spectators or breathtaking views.
The Newport 10 Miler is an exception to this rule.
The 10 mile road race starts and ends in the walls of the historic Fort Adams Fortress. You take in the sights of Narragansett Bay, the water shimmering like tinsel, the boats neatly docked along the running course, and a tall ship anchored close by. It’s a nice homecoming when you return to your starting place ten miles later. At one point in the final leg of the race, you even get to run under the arches of the massive fortress.
But that’s just the start and finish lines. The majority of the road race, the miles between beginning and end where runners need morale boosts the most, are replete with stunning scenery. Your first mile starts with a view of Fort Adams State Park, and then you spend the next five miles running along Newport’s historic Ocean Drive. You take in the salt water breeze and the lovely oceanfront property, and you barely care that you’ve been running under the June sun. Volunteers have graciously set up water and Gatorade stations every two miles, offering ample opportunity for re-hydrating.
After Ocean Drive, you’re on Bellevue Ave, where you see Miramar, Marble House and Rosecliff. By the time you’re done marveling at the mansions, you realize you are well over halfway done with this ten mile trek. You have just three more miles to go. A 5k. A cinch.
The crowd of spectators thickens as you sail down just a few more Newport streets. Suddenly you are back on Harrison Ave, the street that will lead you back to where you began. And then sure enough, mile nine escorts you right back to Fort Adams, where you run one more mile along the bay, cruise under the arches and cross the finish line, where your free Harpoon beer awaits.
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