Hollis Fast 5K – Enjoy One of the Fastest 5Ks in the USA

The facts speak for themselves. It is the fastest 5K ever run in New Hampshire and 29 men and women have run faster than the state record for their age. It is the subject of write ups in national publications. In other words, the Hollis Fast 5K is not just the name of a Granite State race; it is an adjective for how participants run on race day: yes, fast. The USATF-certified point-to-point downhill course creates one of the most unique running experiences on the New England scene.

Day after day, week after week runners train hard: long runs, hill workouts, repeats on the track. Some have been doing it for years. Just once, don't runners deserve a break, a chance to smile as they turn in their fastest performance of the year? That chance will arrive on June 9, 2011 at the Hollis Fast 5K. The course drops 224 feet in elevation from start to finish and does so in a gradual way.

Is the Hollis Fast 5K really that fast? The drop in elevation exceeds standards for state records (as determined by USA Track and Field). That's why Nate Jenkins' course record of 13:46 (2007), the fastest 5K in New Hampshire history, is not recognized by USATF as a state record. Cassie Hintz holds the women's record of 16:29 (2006). USATF also doesn't recognize the ten women and nineteen men who have beaten individual age state records. Of course, that doesn't stop anyone from smiling when they set a record or PR.

Speaking of state records, while they won't go into the books of USATF they will be recognized by the race. Free entries for the following year will go to anyone who sets a New Hampshire individual age state record (or beats the course record if it is already below the state standard).

The original distance was five miles on a different course. This will be the seventh running since race was changed to a 5K in 2005 and the current downhill route was selected.

With a race this fast it is not surprising that some of the top area runners have taken part. Since the switch the list of winners includes Casey Moulton (2005 and 2006) and Benjamin Ndaya (2008 and 2010). Jenkins set his recond in the 2007 edition, and the other winner was Ethan Crane of Nashua with 14:56 in 2009. Kara Haas of Chelmsford, Massachusetts has dominated the women's race, winning the first one in 2005 and adding 2008 and 2010 to her resume. Tammie Robie of Milford, New Hampshire won in 2009.

The fast course attracts more than just the best runners. The Hollis-Nashua, N.H. area is a rich one for young runners and the Hollis Fast 5K offers those youthful runners numerous award opportunities. The youngest age category is 9 and under. From there the categories are in two-year increments for kids, up to the 18-19 division. Adults are also rewarded with five-year age categories, starting at 20-24 and going to 75 and over. The Hollis Fast 5K gives out more awards than 99 percent of New England races and does so in style. Award winners stand on a podium and have their pictures taken while receiving unique hand crafted apple themed trophies.

The Hollis Fast 5K is also great for beginners and families. Running is hard in the beginning, but first timers looking for a race that will give them a positive experience, to keep them motivated, will find that here. It is also quite common to see parents and children finishing together, with smiles on their faces.

Operating a point-to-point 5K requires a lot of effort and for that the runners have the Hollis-Brookline Rotary Club to thank. The race serves as a fundraiser for the Hollis-Brookline Rotary Club and they provide dozens of volunteers. From the pre-race registration area at the Alpine Grove Function Hall to the transportation to the start, and post-race party back at Alpine Grove, the H-B Rotary volunteers are everywhere, making sure race day goes off without a hitch. Leading the way is the race director, Rotarian George LeCours, a long time member of both the club and the New Hampshire road race community. LeCours and the Rotary Club run this race like clockwork, transporting runners to the start, adding digital clocks every mile, and quarter mile markers in the final mile. They provide a fun post-race party too. The Hollis Fast 5K is one of the best organized races around.

The race is capped at 1,000 runners because of transportation and running space on the course, so you don't want to delay. There will be tech shirts for the first 300, and embroidered running hats for the next 200 to register.

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