Sunday, April 1, 2012

Setting out on the Cox Providence 1/2 marathon course

On Friday night I set out to re-familiarize myself with the Cox Providence Rhode Race 1/2 marathon.  I ran the race in 2011.  That was the one and only time I had been on some of the roads along the northern portion of the course.  So I printed out a map, marked it up with legible street names, slipped in into a plastic page protector and set out to hit at least part of the course.  My run started out up in the Summit neighborhood of Providence's East Side.  I ran south to pick up the course at Humbolt and Tabor.

I was already warmed up when I hit the official course at Humbolt and Tabor near mile 2 2/3 (note Gano becomes Tabor).

Nice yellow house!

This is actually the 2nd playground along the course. 
Located at Elton and Humbolt is a great play for little kids.

I am guessing it is the oldest playground/garden along the course. 

It is fully gated to keep kids in.

Hello firefighters! 
They will be on you right on Humbolt after the playground just before mile 3. 

Just after mile 3 the course swings left out onto Blackstone Blvd.

This fine lady is out along the Blvd. path near mile 3.5.  She was once in Witherby Park down near mile 10.5. 
The city moved her up to this well traveled location so that she would be better appreciated. 
"A Memorial to Young Womanhood, also known as The Spirit of Youth, is a statue of a young woman that stands alongside the running path on Blackstone Boulevard where it intersects with Clarendon Avenue. It memorializes Constance Witherby, born September 5, 1913, who died at the age of sixteen on August 30, 1929 of an unexpected heart attack while vacationing in the Swiss Alps. As a girl at the Lincoln School, Constance wrote precocious and prolific poetry. In 1939, her mother, Mrs. Dorothy H. W. Hunt, published her poetry in a limited printed volume called Sunshine & Stardust. The runners of Blackstone Boulevard and the community members of East Providence have since adopted Constance’s statue, covering her with flower garlands in spring and sitting in front of her on one of two granite benches."
“The wind roars by I feel it blow, and know that I am free to go.”  (a phrase from one of Constance’s poems)

The Lippet Park Playground is located at the top of the Blvd. near mile 4 2/3.  You can catch runners going by here at 4 2/3 as well as 7 3/4 as they head back south.  This intersection is always filled with supporters.

The Lippet Park fountain is a beautiful piece of historic architecture along the course.

Just north of Lippit Park you enter Pawtucket.  This southern edge of the city is filled with nice homes and cute neighborhoods.  The loop down Oak Hill and back up Marbury is a great example.

Oak Hill neighborhood.  Look there I am in the lower left!

Yeah - I guess you have to watch out for Greyhounds along the course.

The 4th public playground along the course is just south of the water stop at
Francis J. Varieur Elementary School near mile 6 2/3.

It is south of the school.

Heading along Alfred Stone Rd. I noticed this sign - Entering Providence...

... and in your case leaving Pawtucket.

The walls along the cemetery seem to go on for miles!

The entrance to Swan Point Cemetery will be on your left at mile 8.

The old trolley shelter is just across from the entrance to the cemetery.

Butler Campus / Hospital is next up on the left. 
They looked like they would be putting flowers in any day.

You leave the Blvd. behind when you make the left turn onto President. 
Make sure you look around.  These are some of the East Side's nicest houses!

A hillside estate & I mean hillside, as in watch the hill. 
At least you are headed downhill!

At this point you are around mile 9.5 with a great view of the river.

Do not head the double stop signs and get your motor on you are almost into your final 5K!

Naragansett Boat Club on the Seekonk River just past mile 10.

There is the Henderson Bridge that took the marathoners from the East Side of Providence into East Providence.  Another quarter mile and you will be under it!

I love the weathervane!

The old transportation bridge is permanently tilted skyward. 
Look at those beautiful blossoms in the foreground!

Back up at the Summit my run finished near Seven Stars Bakery.  This a must have experience if you are needing coffee, pastry, or a baguette sandwich after the race.  4th Street and Hope, Providence.

My map - The page protector worked great.  I ran with it in my hand when I was unfamiliar with where to turn next and stuck it in my pouch when I was confident I knew what I was doing.  It was about 50/50.
They put up the turn by turn directions this week.  I should have printed that on the back of the map.

All in all it is an enjoyable urban course.  There should be plenty of people out cheering you on.  It doubles back on itself in enough places that you get twice the spectator bang for your buck.  Plus if you are a spectator there are plenty of places of occupy the kids and get a drink and a bite to eat along the course.  It was a beautiful day for a run last year when I raced and I am hoping for the best again this year!

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