EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 12, 2013

Haverhill's biggest road race ever

1,000 runners use route over two downtown bridges Sunday

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — When the starter pistol fires at Sunday’s Frozen Shamrock 3-Mile Run, a field of 1,000 runners will be on their way to setting a record.

They’ll be participating in the biggest road race ever held in Haverhill.

This year’s annual Frozen Shamrock starts at 1 p.m. at Archie’s Little River Ale House in Lafayette Square and finishes at the same location.

The city has been working to create a continuous pathway using the Comeau and Basiliere bridges to link both sides of the Merrimack River in and around downtown. The Frozen Shamrock is one of several fitness events that incorporate the use of the two bridges as part of the route.

The Frozen Shamrock is the first of the popular three-race Wild Rover Series that features the Claddagh Pub 4-Miler, held March 3 in Lawrence, and the Hynes Tavern 5-miler, held March 10 in Lowell.

Last year’s Frozen Shamrock saw a field of about 970 runners, organizers said. The event is usually held in February, but a snowstorm this year resulted in postponing the event until Sunday. All three races sold out this year, organizers said.

“Our goal is to provide a superior race experience,” said race director Dave Camire.

David LaBrode, technical adviser for the race, said this year’s event will break participation records.

“Haverhill has a number of road races each year, but none that rival the amount of participants the Frozen Shamrock has,” LaBrode said.

The Shamrock race features amenities not often found at local events, organizers said.

“I think our participants are surprised by the little thing such as our personalized bibs, digital clocks at each mile and space blankets at the finish,” Camire said. “This is also one of the most technologically advanced races around.’’

The race will be chip-timed using the revolutionary Chronotrack B-Tag. The event takes such timing to the extreme, he said.

“Both the start and finish will have timing mats so runners will get a chip and gun time,” Camire said. “Also, each mile will contain a new technology called Flash Points that records the runners’ split for each mile.”

Additionally, participants will have their times and splits automatically posted to their Facebook page, Camire said. Every finisher will also be emailed an electronic finishing certificate that is suitable for framing.

“And if that’s not enough, all participants will be photographed and the photos will be made available for free download,” Camire said. “We are very excited to offer these new amenities to our participants.”

Organizers also hope to treat runners to the sounds of bagpipes, weather permitting.

“We hope to have our piper from Clan MacPherson set up just by the railroad underpass on Essex Street so runners can hear the sweet sounds of the bagpipes not once, but twice during their run,” said David LaBrode, technical adviser to the race.

The race course travels from Lafayette Square to the Comeau Bridge into Bradford before crossing the Basiliere Bridge and returning through downtown to Archie’s for the finish.

The course is basically flat, with the exception of one significant hill on Laurel Avenue, just before the one-mile split. Course maps and additional race information are available at www.frozenshamrock.com.

Each finisher will be awarded a medal that attaches to the medals from the other two series’ races, forming a larger Wild Rover Series medal. All entrants will receive a race T-shirt and are invited to enjoy after-race refreshments, courtesy of Archie’s Little River Ale House and Merrimack Valley Distributing. The after-race party, which features live Irish music, often lasts into the night. The event is still accepting race day volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Jessica Costa at Jessica@yankeetiming.com.