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Posted On: 1/1/2009

Race of the Year - The Applefest Half Marathon
The annual Applefest Half Marathon and two-person Half Marathon Relay has earned a lot of praise in its 27-year history for outstanding quality, organization and innovation. It's always been listed as one of New England Runner's Top Races and this year it has been selected as "Race of the Year."
Dedicated to runners by runners, this gem of the host Gate City Striders and the Granite State hasn't rested on its laurels. Any race in its 27th year (the 2009 edition will be held on September 26th) has staying power. Participants from throughout the region, and indeed from throughout the US, flock to the bucolic village of Hollis, NH for this New England classic. Hollis is a rural agricultural town located right on the Massachusetts border, just west of Nashua and Route 3 and only an hour's drive from Boston.

The Striders launched the race just five years after the club was founded in 1978. From the outset, the event has benefited from the full backing of the town and the same primary sponsors for 27 years: Brookdale Fruit Farm (they provide the post race fruit and prize baskets), New England Country Pies (provider of the famous apple crisp and those Mile High Apple Pie prizes, and Kerk Motion Products, an outstanding local business. Hollis Brookline High School provides lockers, showers and changing facilities for all. Chip timing and immediate results eliminate the suspense. There are plentiful and enthusiastic volunteers along with entertaining water stops every two miles (student groups compete for 'best theme' and 'most outstanding').

Twenty-seven years also means that Applefest has developed a remarkable history of competition, highlighted by its innovative single age records, which debuted in the  inaugural year of 1983. Anyone setting a single-age record receives an embroidered sweatshirt including name, time, Applefest logo and "Course Record."

There are cash awards for individuals (top three women and men), prizes for top locals, Clydesdale and Filly open and masters, relay teams, plus terrific raffle prizes and unique technical long sleeve T-shirts added to the booty. There's also an $800 bonus available for any woman or man setting a new course record-as this year's top female, Julie Spolidoro of Duxbury, can attest. Yes, cool prizes and lots of them.

Spolidoro ran 1:17:17 to break Patti Laliberte's 25 year-old mark of 1:18:22. Defending champion Mark Mayall won the 2008 race in 1:13:22. Dave Dunham has held the men's mark (1:06:07) since 1992. Peg Donovan, Bruce Butterworth, Sue LaChance, Eric Beauschene, and Fernando Braz have all won here. Dave Parsel, 53, of Costa Mesa, CA is one of the more prolific Applefest zealots. A three-time outright champion, Parsel owns the Masters record (along with three other single-age marks) and this year was the top 40+ runner in 1:18:04.

Participants have always been impressed with the tremendous number and quality of awards, including beautiful commemorative medals for all finishers. The top three in five-year age groups win unique prizes with the first place finisher taking home a huge fruit basket, and the second and third place runners receiving an enormous apple pie worthy of a name like "Applefest."

Everyone, speedy or less so, experiences a feast at Applefest. The Gate City Striders take great pride in their post race party, replete with live music and an 'all you can eat' attitude. The impressive spread compliments the season and the scenery, including the famous apple crisp and more home baked goods from volunteers than you can imagine.
The race is held as Hollis is in harvest season-its orchards are bright with apples and its fields are full of pumpkins. The farms that produce them border the course, and many race participants go apple and pumpkin picking when the racing is done.

Applefest presents a challenging, but beautifully scenic, rural course. The first half of its figure eight design is essentially downhill (the lowest point on the course is just beyond halfway), and there are moderate climbs in the second half. The course includes a fall foliage tour of the historic village center, colonial homes, Monument Square, Silver Lake State Park, forests, cemeteries (where residents who fought at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, and Saratoga lie buried), barns, fields, orchards, farm stands and 300-year-old stone walls.

The course is slightly net downhill and USATF-certified. If you are looking for a flat 13.1, don't come to Hollis. It is an interesting and fair test, and simply beautiful. The designated Historic District includes over 120 homes and other structures, some from the colonial or Revolutionary periods.

The first upper loop of about 3.5 miles is broad and wide and clear for the early miles, with outstanding traffic control. The lower loop, about 9.5 miles, is mostly rural country roads adjacent to fields, orchards, and forests tinged with autumnal colors. In most years there is a single bag piper on a hill near the course, his pipes pumping energy into runners as they attack the infamous series that is known as the "Wheeler Hills."

A two-person team relay was added to the event several years ago. There are 150 relay teams allowed, or another 300 participants, each running approximately 6.5 miles. Second leg runners are bussed to the relay handoff, and teammates are bussed back to the finish. The increasingly popular relay runs the same course with the exchange just beyond the 10K mark.

The course and the race are very spectator-friendly. Family and friends have views at the start, finish, 2-miles, and 11.4, all within easy walking distance. With its current race cap of 1200, there is a higher than usual ratio of volunteers-to-runners to handle parking, H2O stops, the food tent, course logistics and registration. The race directors are GCS members, as are most of the volunteers.

Other volunteers from the Amateur Radio Emergency Service of New Hampshire and the Civil Air Patrol provide course communications, allowing race officials to relay the lead male and female's progress during the race. This communication network is monitored by the Hollis police and emergency service to provide a greater level of course safety. Spectators also enjoy the concession services provided by the Hollis Brookline Girls Cross Country Team.

So there you have it: a unique half marathon held in a gorgeous season in a beautiful village setting and administered by an enthusiastic and experienced running club with no lack of amenities. Between "newbies" and past participants clamoring to 'relive' the experience, this classic autumn event sells out every year. Applefest is a near-perfect race experience.  It is a classic autumn event. It is the Race of the Year: The Applefest Half Marathon and Half Marathon Relay-New England fall racing as it should be!
-Skip Cleaver

Applefest Single Age Records

Age     Male     Time     Year     Female     Time     Year
10     Andy Raitto     2:19:43     2003     No record established for this age
11     Andy Raitto     2:04:20     2004     No record established for this age
12     Jonathan Sproul     1:46:40     2000     No record established for this age
13     Jonathan Sproul     1:38:46     2001     Claire Green     2:07:22     1983
14     Tom Alsheskie     1:33:35     1984     Katherine Goodwin     1:51:44     1984
15     Tom Alsheskie     1:23:09     1985     Crystal Smith     1:40:49     1995
16     Joseph Keith     1:24:06     1983     Amy Orcutt     1:44:28     2005
17     Tom Alsheskie     1:18:18     1987     Katie Parodi     1:37:48     2000
18     Michael Walsh     1:26:16     2001     Debbie Marston     1:36:05     1988
19     Scott Brennan     1:21:15     1989     Sara Dutton     1:35:07     1983
20     David Hampson     1:13:49     1997     Sarah Lowman     1:34:07     1991
21     Steven Fortier     1:11:39     1984     Theresa Wilson     1:26:53     1983
22     Eric Beauchesne     1:11:48     1992     Allison Barlow     1:29:47     1987
23     Jim Zimmerly     1:07:56     1987     Julie Spolidoro     1:20:34     2004
24     Michael Mazier     1:12:14     1989     Gail Turner     1:26:33     1984
25     Ed Baker     1:10:08     2004     Debbie DeSantis     1:24:41     1983
26     Dave Dunham     1:06:31     1990     Debbie DeSantis     1:20:09     1984
27     Joe Molloy     1:08:18     1989     Julie Spolidoro     1:17:17 #     2008
28     Dave Dunham     1:06:07 #     1992     Anne Hird     1:21:29     1987
29     Dave Dunham     1:08:36     1993     Patti Laliberte     1:18:22     1983
30     Bruce Butterworth     1:08:24     1983     Susan Lupica     1:19:07     1983
31     Steve O'Connell     1:08:45     1989     Michele Jahns     1:23:12     1991
32     Joe Mulligan     1:11:54     1994     Mary Hynes     1:20:17     1987
33     Fernando Braz     1:09:45     1994     Sophie Merrill     1:26:24     1984
34     Eric Beauchesne     1:10:34     2004     Debra Barry     1:27:19     1999
35     Jim Murphy     1:09:08     1985     Sue Lachance     1:22:45     1995
36     Thomas Murdock III     1:11:05     1999     Virginia Nichols     1:24:53     1996
37     Wayne Jacob     1:10:45     1992     Virginia Nichols     1:27:04     1997
38     Ray Currier     1:10:25     1983     Sue Lachance     1:24:48     1998
39     Thomas Carroll     1:11:33     1989     Sue Lachance     1:26:40     1999
40     Keiron Tumbleton     1:12:29     2006     Sue Lachance     1:25:15     2000
41     Thomas Carroll     1:11:40     1991     Sue Lachance     1:22:25     2001
42     Robert Sholl     1:13:25     1989     Margot R'-Oman     1:26:17     1989
43     James Morriseau     1:16:56     1996     Colleen Barbarita     1:35:25     2004
44     Dave Parsel     1:10:38     1999     Peg Donovan     1:26:01     1998
45     Dave Parsel     1:16:30     2000     Jacqueline Shakar     1:28:35     2004
46     Dave Parsel     1:15:51     2001     Sidney Letendre     1:30:22     2000
47     Dave Parsel     1:14:11     2002     Pam Hall     1:35:36     2000
48     Dave Parsel     1:15:44     2003     Carole Hackert     1:35:13     1990
49     Dave Parsel     1:15:50     2004     Carrie Parsi     1:36:49     1988
50     Doug MacGregor     1:15:27     1989     Carrie Parsi     1:34:22     1989
51     Bill Foulk     1:15:25     1984     Wendy Burbank     1:37:39     2003
52     Eddie Fromm     1:21:21     1990     Heidy McGaffigan     1:33:16     1997
53     Bill Springer     1:21:57     1992     Carrie Parsi     1:37:01     1992
54     Wayne Alukonis     1:24:31     2003     Carrie Parsi     1:34:17     1993
55     Eddie Fromm     1:22:05     1993     Carrie Parsi     1:36:06     1994
56     Bill Springer     1:24:47     1995     Faye Lowery     1:47:25     1999
57     Tony Sapienza     1:21:13     1986     Carrie Parsi     1:34:37     1996
58     Eddie Fromm     1:22:10     1996     Carrie Parsi     1:35:18     1997
59     Eddie Fromm     1:24:17     1997     Carrie Parsi     1:43:44     1998
60     Eddie Fromm     1:26:04     1998     Wendy Burbank     1:41:54     2002
61     Joe Fernandez     1:20:54     1989     Wendy Burbank     1:48:15     2003
62     Joe Fernandez     1:22:25     1990     Wendy Burbank     1:46:14     2004
63     Bill Spencer     1:32:42     1999     Dorothy Bergman     2:01:31     1994
64     Jack Kick     1:30:41     1996     Dorothy Bergman     1:55:31     1995
65     Eddie Fromm     1:30:38     2003     Carrie Parsi     1:49:51     2004
66     Ray Pickell     1:38:46     1997     Carrie Parsi     1:51:22     2005
67     Jack Kick     1:33:07     1999     Carrie Parsi     1:53:51     2006
68     Jack Kick     1:35:38     2000     Imme Dyson     1:54:07     2005
69     Carlton Mendell     1:36:48     1991     Imme Dyson     1:53:50 2006
70     Jack Kick     1:41:20     2002     Imme Dyson     1:57:11    2007
71     Carlton Mendell     1:49:03     1993     Barbara Robinson     1:56:50     2004
72     Carlton Mendell     1:46:54     1994
73     Carlton Mendell     1:51:43     1995 
74     Carlton Mendell     1:49:31     1996 
75     Robert Hall     1:55:32     2004 
76     Robert Halll     2:01:11     2005 
77     Carlton Mendell     2:09:00     1999 
78     Carlton Mendell     2:11:34     2000
79     Carlton Mendell     2:15:19     2001
80     Carlton Mendell     2:30:13     2002
81     Carlton Mendell     2:36:43     2003 
82     Carlton Mendell     2:47:04     2004 
83     Carlton Mendell     3:00:56     2005

Thursday, December 30, 2010 9:48:11 AM by RN to BSN degree
Seems like a great event!
Congrats on the marathon :)

- Jessica Sparco
Masters of Applied Psychology
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:33:38 AM by Atakan
a complete ban on hngdauns is not politically practicable Factcheck attempts to claim that is a pro-2nd statement, when I read it as If I believed it had a chance, I'd try to, but as it doesn't I won't even try, so I'll just pile on restrictions Also, his support of Teddy Kennedy's horrendously written bill, where Ted states My amendment will not apply to ammunition that is now routinely used in hunting rifles or other centerfire rifles. but then Teddy goes on a rant about how some officers were killed by the deadly and dangerous thirty-thirty deer rifle using standard deer hunting ammo.I love this part, straight from their website The NRA bases this overheated claim on a vote Obama cast on March 24, 2004, in the Illinois state Senate. He was one of 20 who opposed SB 2165. That bill, which passed 38 20 and became law, did not make it a crime to use firearms for self-defense, however. Notice the Logic twist. The law did NOT make it a a crime to use firearms for self defense, but Obama voted AGAINST it, so what the law did would only be relevant if he voted FOR it.THE TRUTH IS BEING SUPRESSED WITH THE TREAT OF BANK DRAINING FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS JUST LIKE THE TYPE AIMED AT RUNNING GUN MANUFACTURERS BANKRUPTOBAMA WILL PREVENT YOU FROM BUYING AMMO, AND HE WILL PREVENT OTHERS FROM SELLING YOU GUNS BUT ACCORDING TO HIM THAT IS OKAY AS IT DOESN'T PREVENT YOU FROM BUYING GUNS.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 9:36:49 PM by mbkxasbdaht
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