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March 24, 2013

Plenty of April race options for runners

Perhaps May is, nationally, the month for birthdays, but one has to consider April the month for road races.

There are at least 11 local races scheduled next month. Some of them are among the largest of the year and others are among the most popular.

On three weekends, there are at least two races on the same day, which will require some tough choices for avid runners.

Regionally, there is a similar trend. On coolrunning.com, there are 138 races listed in Massachusetts for April not even including the Boston Marathon and another 38 in New Hampshire.

The largest local race of the month will surely be the April 7 Run for the Troops 5K in Andover.

Well run, it’s held for a popular cause and it doesn’t hurt that there’s a big downhill stretch right before the finish line.

There were nearly 1,600 finishers last year and race director Bill Pennington believes there will be more this year.

“We’re expecting 2,000,” said Pennington.

“We’ve been growing anyway and we’re doing more marketing for teams. The response has been good. We’re 25 percent ahead of last year.”

Next in size will likely be the Frozen Shamrock 3-Miler, which was postponed from February because of the first and largest snowstorm. It was supposed to be the first of three races in the

Wild Rover Series, the next two being the Claddagh Pub 4-Miler in Lawrence and the Hynes 5-Miler in Lowell.

The Claddagh and Hynes races both attracted nearly 1,000 finishers.

The Frozen Shamrock race would have likely surpassed that number but race officials are unclear how the postponement will affect the total.

The expectation is that the Frozen Shamrock numbers will still be high.

That’s partly because a great majority of the runners signed up for all three Wild Rover races and because finishers of each race get a section of a nifty medal, which they can put together when all three races are completed.

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