By Dave Dyer
---- — 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.
The month starts with three races on April 6 — the Tempesta 2-miler in North Reading, the Tortoise and Hare 10K/3-Miler in Salisbury and the new Hawk Road Race 5K in Bradford. April 20 features the Dan Ford 5-Mile/5K in Methuen and the Stonyfield Earth 5K in Londonderry.
For those enthusiasts who want to run two races on the same day, it would be possible on April 28.
The Family Fun 5K begins in Andover at 10 a.m. while the St. Joseph School 5K begins in Bradford at 12:30 p.m.
April Road Races
April 6 — Tempesta 2-Miler, noon, Ipswich River State Park in North Reading, call Lori Mitchener at 978-844-3256
April 6 — Tortoise and the Hare 10K/3-Miler, 11 a.m., Lions Park Ball Field in Salisbury, contact Heidi Thompson at 978-500-4793
April 6 — Hawk Road Race/Walk 5K, 10 a.m., Bradford at Sacred Hearts School at 31 South Chestnut, contact Agnes Hayes at 978-372-5451
April 7 — Homes for our Troops 5K, 9 a.m., Andover Town Hall, 36 Bartlet St., contact Bill Pennington at 978-886-7574 or RunForTheTroops5K.com
April 13 — Run of the Savages 5K, 10 a.m., Pollard School in Plaistow, contact Kristin Savage at 603-489-9211
April 14 — Frozen Shamrock 3-Miler, 1 p.m., Archie’s Ale House, 27 Lafayette Square in Haverhill, contact Dave Camire at 978-430-5669
April 20 — Dan Ford 5-Mile/5K Road Race, 11 a.m., 171 Pelham St. in Methuen, contact Patti Ford at 508-982-0533
April 20 — Stonyfield Earth Day 5K, 10 a.m., Stonyfield Farm, 10 Burton Drive in Londonderry, contact Michael St. Laurent at 603-659-2824
April 27 — Cassidys 5K, 10:30 a.m., Sylvan Street Grille, 195 Elm St. in Salisbury, contact Scott Walsh at 978-462-7776
April 28 — St. Joseph School 5K/1.5-mile Walk, 12:30 p.m., St. Joseph School at 56 Oak Terrace in Haverhill. Contact C.J. Enos at 978-604-9081 or firstname.lastname@example.org or sjshav.com
April 28 — Family Fun 5K Run/Walk, 10 a.m., 134 Main St. and Morton Street, Andover, contact andoverabc.org/5K for more information and to register