With temperatures on the rise, the grass greening up and those daffodils starting to pop – we know what that means! Road race season is kicking off! Our first race of the season is around the corner with our Newport Rhode Race and we are excited to welcome all the new and returning runners to the City-by-the-Sea. Even if you are new to our race – WELCOME! If you may not be new but are looking to conquer a new distance or PR, we will be sharing some tips on the race and the course and answering some of the most asked questions – from bib pick-up, to parking, to the actual geography and expectations of the race itself.
Let’s begin at the beginning – BIB PICK-UP. As we wish to ensure a smooth race day for all involved, we recommend planning on picking up your bib on Thursday at Rhode Runner or Friday at the Sonesta Hotel. Race day bib pick-up must be reserved in advance, it is limited and there is a fee to do so. The reason for this is to proactively manage the logistics behind race morning and ensure an on-time start. You are welcome to send a family or friend to pick up your bib for you on Thursday or Friday if you can’t make it yourself, you must just provide a copy of your ID and a note stating that you give them permission to do so.
ARRIVING AND PARKING – We have two lots for parking – the John Clark Industrial Park for the half participants and 2nd Beach for the Full and 5k Participants. Both of these lots are in Middletown. If you are car-pooling with runners in different distances, we would recommend the Half marathon lot for this. ARRIVE EARLY! We have loads of shuttles, but we can’t fit all 3000 people at once (don’t be that person) AND the police do close the road at 7am for the start, even for the shuttles. We recommend arriving at the parking lots AT LEAST one hour before your race start so that you save yourself some stress and have some time to warm up and prepare to start. (There is shelter under the bath houses in the case of rain before the race start.) There is NO PARKING at the beach or anywhere within one mile of the race start. And if you are getting dropped off, please get dropped off somewhere between Diego’s and Tickets Restaurants on the Middletown side or around the 7-11 store on the Newport side. The road in front of the beach is restricted to one lane so if you drop off in front of the beach, we will cause traffic to back up even more than necessary. With these two locations, you can avoid stopping traffic and your ride can turn around and avoid the area altogether.
START/FINISH – The start of the full, half, and 5k race is on Memorial Blvd, adjacent to Easton’s Beach with the finish being in the parking lot of the Beach. Both the start and finish are within sight of each other. PLEASE DO NOT cross the grassy areas/dunes to reach the start, exit the parking lot to reach the start using the defined exits. Please ensure that your family and friends do not stand on the grassy areas/dunes to watch the start. This is a huge ecological concern and can risk our race permit – we can’t stress this enough. We will have to yell at you vociferously if you are on the dunes.
FIRST HALF – The course starts with a beautiful stretch along the beach before heading up an incline and making the first left turn, heading towards mile 1. There is a nice stretch of flat and then a gradual downhill as you head towards mile 2. Miles 3-10 are truly amazing and what makes this course an award winner: along the water, through beautiful back roads and stunning Ocean Dr., private beaches, and stunning coastal homes. Mile Marker 8 is my favorite spot on the course. While this part of the race isn’t super hilly, it is rolling and depending on the weather, can be windy for miles 6 and 7 along Brenton Point as you are exposed to the Atlantic Ocean! It is also just gorgeous so enjoy! Mile 10 and 11 are on famous Bellevue Ave and all the Gilded Age mansions, including Salve Regina University. From mile 10 to just past mile 12 is mostly flat. Just past mile 12, you turn back onto Memorial Blvd and head downhill for one of the most beautiful views of Easton’s Beach. Look for the spires of St. George’s School in the distance.
BACK HALF – For those continuing for another 13.1 miles, you do have to run right past the finish line and head back out towards Middletown for the back half. It is a bit cruel – sorry about this. You will exit the parking lot and head towards some stunning views on this part of the course as well. There is a bit of a climb to mile 14, a nice flat through a gorgeous neighborhood and then a descent to mile 15 near Surfer’s End Beach. For miles 16 and 17, you are running out towards Sachuest Nature’s Preserve and past 2nd and 3rd Beaches. There is a slight climb at the turn around near the Bird Sanctuary. Miles 18 has a bit of a climb, but look for Hanging Rock between mile 17 and 18. Miles 19-24 are an out and back along a flat stretch of road with more beautiful coastal homes. Once you past mile 24, you will climb that steep hill that you enjoyed as a downhill near Surfer’s End. This in my opinion is the toughest part of the race. My advice would be to take it easy up the hill and preserve your strength for a strong finish. Mile 25 is back through that gorgeous neighborhood with the flat-ish road before heading back down hill towards the finish. Mile 26 is at the town line of Newport and Middletown. You will take a left back into the parking lot towards that finish line that you had past at the half way point.
5k – For our 5k participants, you also have the same start on Memorial Blvd with the climb, but you will turn left a bit early than the full and half course – onto a private road. The 5k enjoys access to a road that is typically inaccessible to vehicles, past some stunning homes. You will cross Annadale, loop through a more modest neighborhood before rejoining Annadale and heading down Memorial to the finish. Other than the climb in the beginning, the course is flat and fast.
BEACH MILE – The start is on Easton’s Beach with an out and back on the sand. This can be tricky with some beach debris as obstacles – seaweed, shells, etc – but that is what makes this event fun. For the last 200 meters or so, you will exit the beach and finish under the arch with the marathon participants!
AID STATIONS – Each aid station will have a portable toilet or two. We will also have water, nuun and Clif. You can bring your own water bottle or Hydrapak cup for a more environmentally friendly solution – the aid stations will have pitchers for quick refills. Each mile marker will have a 5 gallon bucket for any trash, especially those terrible gel packets that are the bane of our environmental initiatives! Please try to dispose of all your trash, clothing, cast offs in these buckets (or at least as close as you can toss them to the bucket). The later aid stations will also have vaseline, cramp cream, band aids, etc. If at any point during your race you need medical assistance or transportation, you can ask the aid station volunteers to call our roving on-course vehicles for you. The RaceJoy app also has an SOS function in which we can track your GPS locations for pick up. We will have ambulances on course for medical assistance as well.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS – The course is open to traffic so the race is spectator friendly. We have a few good options for your family and friends to watch along the course in our Athlete Guide. These locations include King’s Park (just past mile 2), Fort Adams (mile 4) Brenton Point (miles 6-7), Salve (mile 11.5) and out near Surfer’s End where you pass 3 times (mile 15, 17 and 24). They can park in the shuttle lots and take the shuttles to watch you finish as again – there is no parking at the beach 😉 We also recommend using RaceJoy as your family and friends can track your exact location via the GPS in your phone, as well as send you cheers along the way! Thanks to Shimmerwood Beverages, this app is free to both you and your Cheer-squad. RaceJoy also has off course alerts, pace notifications, and some great points of interest along the course that will play as you run past them.
Once you finish, we will have a Beer Garden sponsored by Sam Adams, a post-race recovery tent with massages thanks to Pappas/OPT Physical Therapy, hot coffee or cold Nitro thanks to Nitro Bar, some fun music and food. Enjoy your day recover and be sure to take a post-race selfie picture at the beach! Tag #RhodeRaces for a chance to be featured on our socials!
Finally – we are partnering with Epic Renewal this year for a Zero Waste event. Please help us in our sustainable efforts – look for signs and guides at the race for proper waste disposal.
We hope this answered many of your questions but please check out our FAQs and Athlete Guide (available 4/1, posted on RhodeRaces.com under EVENTS, NEWPORT, PARTICIPANTS) for even more information. Good luck in your running journey and we can’t wait to greet you at the start!