The course is the true star of this event with a beautiful view helping runners face the challenging hills that are flanked by some of the more forgiving flat parts of the course. The view stays the same throughout...always breathtaking whether it's the quaintness of the small town, the gorgeous landscapes, or the seemingly never ending ocean views along Atlantic coastline. There's even an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Boston skyline.
What started out more than three decades ago as a friendly competition among a few hundred runners is now a 1,770-person race, a number that represents the year in which Cohasset was incorporated. The field includes competitive running clubs and weekend warriors. The race uses the latest D tag technology yet still maintains a starting line comprised of a strip of white flour, just as it was done well before the addition of the electronic timing mat. A ship's bell still serves as the starting "gun." And the t-shirts have remained long-sleeved, 100% cotton tees that runners look forward to year after year.
"The Cohasset Rotary is very proud of the fact that this race is very much the same one it was 35 years ago," says Rich Fitzpatrick, Race Committee member. "We still serve hot dogs at our finish, and we are grateful to have most of the same sponsors we've had since year one. Our goal is still to make everyone feel like this is THEIR race, no matter where they call home."
There are those who have been involved with the race for decades, such as Wayne Sawchuck, President of Rotary Club of Cohasset and owner of Colospace, a long-time sponsor. "What makes this race special are not the bells and whistles, it's very simple, we have one of the most beautiful 10K courses in New England and a townspeople that are 100% supportive of the event." Visit www.roadracebythesea.com
At least one participant felt so at home at this "hometown" race that he decided to move to Cohasset. In 2004, when John McMahon, who lived in Brookline at the time, was searching this very website, for an early season 10K he came upon "Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea." He said it was the name of the event itself that was one of the selling points.
"The thought of running by the sea made me think it might be a little like Falmouth. I had never been to Cohasset. When I first drove into town and saw the Common it instantly reminded me of the Town Green in my hometown of Bedford, New York. It's a beautiful starting point for the race," says McMahon. "And it was such a gorgeous run along the water...what a great way to cover a little over 6 miles. The residents cheer for you and play music and there are plenty of kids handing out water from numerous water stations. I'll always remember running up Forest Avenue, a challenging part of the race and hearing "Eye of the Tiger" blasting from someone's radio."
The view along the rocky coastline includes Minot Ledge Lighthouse and the signal which it uses to safely guide ships through the sea is 1-4-3. It's a "romantic" signal which is known to all locals and lighthouse enthusiasts throughout New England. This 1-4-3 flashing sequence is the same numerical count as the words, "I love you." It's a fitting term since there is so much to love about both the race itself and the town.
"By the third time my wife, Angelica, and I came here for the race we were pretty sure we wanted to make it our home, and that's just what we did. This race is an annual tradition, a rite of spring that I would never want to miss," continued McMahon.
If you're looking for a destination race there is much to entice you to come and stay for the weekend. Local hotels, a village with great restaurants and gift and clothing stores and a coastline with a million dollar view all make the short drive south of Boston worthwhile.