Eastern Mass Apple Picking

apple picking apples growing on tree with green leaves

New England Fall apple picking is one of my many fond childhood memories! Even now as an adult, there’s  something magical about an apple picking trip to a New England apple orchard. Apple picking, or pick your own apples, isn’t unique to New England, but I do feel like we have helped get the Fall tradition started and we’ve got our spin on it and out own unique apples, McIntosh! Apple picking is really accessible to anyone and I really enjoy being in a New England orchard seeing groups of friends and families out enjoying a beautiful New England Fall day.

Eastern Massachusetts Apple Picking Guide

Why just Eastern Massachusetts?

This post is a guide to all the apple orchards in Eastern Massachusetts I could find. It is guide to apple types and other things local farms offer. I disappointingly had to limit to Eastern Massachusetts because if I included Western Massachusetts (or Southern New Hampshire) there it would be too many, 33 isn’t too shabby right? They’re also in alphabetical order. I also disappointingly didn’t get to include a couple of places because I couldn’t get any apple information on them and some never got back to me (updates possible!).

Important Apple Picking Guide Notes:

(PYO) – Pick Your Own – those marked  are the apples I’ve been able to verify you can actually find on a tree.

Call the farm before you go! It’s why I’ve included their numbers in this guide. Especially if you’re looking for a particular type of apple, all apples are seasonal! Or it’s late in the season (toward the end of October) a lot of apples get picked out. If you’re using a phone you should just be able to tap it.

Directions: Click the town in the farm profile, Google Search window will come up with the farm location.

It’s my hope you check out a new apple picking place! There are some absolutely great and fun apple orchards in Mass. (Plus it will hopefully lower your chances of having to wait in a long line for cider donuts!)

Apples ready for Picking at Boston Hill Farm

Eastern Massachusetts Apple Picking Orchards

Why write a post about pick your own (PYO) apples in Eastern Massachusetts?

I was out mid-October last year with friends and ended up at a couple of apple orchards where all the apples had been picked out. We had to scramble to find a place with apples and ended up at less publicized farm and had a great time (and the lines weren’t hours long for cider donuts). It made me realize there are a lot of great apple farms within driving distance from Boston that aren’t as well publicized and hard to find, thus this list.

What does PYO mean?

PYO stands for Pick Your Own, it can be any kind of fruit.

Why would you want pick your own?

It’s fun! Plus, a lot of people are interested in knowing where their food is from. Apple Picking season, aka Fall, is really one of the only times during the year we celebrate knowing exactly where our food is from. If you’re new to New England or the Boston area, you might not have lived in a part of the US that has apple picking or so much pick you own fruit. This list is a few places that are driving distance from Boston, there are many great places that didn’t make the list only because of distance.

Where should I be going to an apple orchard?

Anywhere near your house can be great, provided it has what you’re looking for. If you have kids, hayrides and activities might be a deciding factor. If cider donuts and apple types is more important, there are definitely plenty of places for you on this list

What are the advantages of going to a smaller farm?

The lines you find at bigger orchards are often much smaller or not there, and the farm has more character. Plus a lot of smaller, less publicized farms, grow some really awesome and unique things!

Does the farm near my house have apples?

Maybe? If you’re looking for apples, you can’t always assume the farm down the street, or the town over, has apple picking (one farm I grew up near has only had apples for the last few years). Many apple orchards specialize in different kinds of things, for example making this post, I found an apple type called ‘Winter Banana’ I’d never heard of before, I’m hoping I get to track it down this season!

How do I get to the apple orchard?

Plan to drive! Most apple picking places are located well outside large urban areas. Some rare farms are accessible by public transit (T, MBTA, regional bus) but most are well off a major highway or interstate.

Happy apple picking season!

red apple iconAutumn Hills Orchard
Groton, MA
978-448-8388
Apple Type:
Cortland
Cox Orange Pippin
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Ida Red
Kendell
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Newtown Pippin
Nothern Spy
Paula Red
Pink Lady
Rhode Island Greening
Spencer
Spigold
Suncrisp

 

red apple iconBelkin Family Lookout Farm
Natick, MA
508-651-1539
Cider Donuts Weekend, Kids Activities, Maze, Hay Pyramid
Apple Type:
Cortland
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Red Delicious
Shizuka

 

red apple iconBerlin Orchards
Berlin, MA
978-838-2400
Apple Type:
Cortland
Ginger Gold
Gold Supreme
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Redfree
Shamrock
Spencer

 

red apple iconBolton Orchards
Bolton, MA
978-799-2733
Apple Type:
Arkansas Black
Baldwin
Cameo
Cortland
Empire
Empress
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Golden Russet
Granny Smith
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Hudson Golden Gem
Jonagold
Liberty
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)

 

red apple iconBolton Spring Farm
Bolton, MA
978-779-2898
Cider Donuts, No kids activities
Apple Type:
Blushing Golden
Baldwin
Cameo
Cortland
Crabapple
Empire
Fuji
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Ida Red
Jonagold
Jonathan
Macoun
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Rome
Royal Gala
Spartan
Spencer
Tydeman
Vista Bella
Zestar

 

red apple iconBoston Hill Farm
North Andover, MA
978-681-8556
Cider Donuts, Small Petting zoo
Apple Type:
Cortland (PYO)
Ginger Gold (PYO)
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Paula Red (PYO)
Red Delicious (PYO)

 

red apple iconBrooksby Farm
Peabody, MA
978-531-7456
Apple Type:
Cortland
Early Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Granny Smith
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Red Delicious
Summer Granny
Summer Mac

 

red apple iconCarlson Orchards
Harvard, MA
978-456-3916
Cider Donuts Weekends, No kids activities
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Braeburn
Cameo
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Granny Smith
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Pink Lady
Rome
Royal Gala

 

red apple iconCarver Hill Orchards
Stow, MA
978-897-6117
Cider Donuts Weekends, No kids activities
Apple Type:
Blushing Golden (PYO)
Cortland (PYO)
Empire (PYO)
Ginger Gold (PYO)
Honeycrisp
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (PYO)
Red Delicious (PYO)
Romes (PYO)

 

red apple iconDerby Ridge Farm
Stow, MA
978-897-7507
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Blushing Golden
Cortland
Crabapple
Davey
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Golden Delicious
Gravenstein
Ida Red
Jersey Mac
Lodi
Macoun
McIntosh
Melrose
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Red Delicious
Rome
Royal Gala
Spencer
Winter Banana

 

red apple iconDoe Orchards
Harvard, MA
978-772-4139
Apple Type:
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Golden Supreme
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
Red Delicious

 

red apple iconDowse Orchards
Sherborn, MA
508-653-2639
No Cider Donuts or kids activities
Apple Type:
Astrachan
Baldwin
Cortland (PYO)
Empire (PYO)
Fuji (PYO)
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious (PYO)
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Ida Red (PYO)
Jersey Mac
Jonagold (PYO)
Jonathan
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Milton
Mutsu (Crispin)
Red Delicious
Rome
Royal Gala
Russett
Spartan (PYO)
Spencer
Staymen
Winesap
Zestar
More Varieties

 

red apple iconDrew Farm Country Store
Westford, MA
978-807-0719
Apple Type:
Cortland
Empire
Golden Delicious
Macoun
McIntosh
Red Delicious

 

red apple iconFairmount Fruit Farm
Franklin, MA
508-533-8737
Apple Type:
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh

 

red apple iconGeorge Hill Orchards
South Lancaster, MA
978-365-4331
Cider Donuts, Hayrides, Maze, Educational Programs
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Braeburn
Cortland
Empire
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Granny Smith
Honeycrisp
Jonathan
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Pink Lady
Red Delicious
Rome
Winesap
Winter Banana

 

red apple iconHighland Farm Orchard
Holliston, MA
508-429-8370
Apple Type:
Braeburn
Cortland
Fuji
Golden Supreme
Granny Smith
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Pink Lady

 

red apple iconHoney Pot Hill Orchards
Stow MA
978-562-5666
Cider Donuts, lots of activities
Apple Type:
Akane (PYO)
Baldwin (PYO)
Cortland (PYO)
Crabapple
Empire (PYO)
Ginger Gold (PYO)
Golden Delicious (PYO)
Gravenstein (PYO)
Honeycrisp (PYO)
Jonagold (PYO)
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Mutsu (Crispin) (PYO)
Northern Spy
Paula Red (PYO)
Red Delicious (PYO)
Royal Gala (PYO)
Sansa (PYO)
Spartan (PYO)
Spencer (PYO)
Vista Bella
Winesap

 

red apple iconIngaldsby Farm
Boxford, MA
978-352-2813
Cider Donuts
Apple Type:
Cortland
Empire
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Macoun
McIntosh
Spencer

 

red apple iconKimball Fruit Farm
Pepperell, MA
978-433-9751
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Blushing Golden
Brock
Burgundy
Cameo
Chestnut
Crabapple
Elstar
Empire
Fuji
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Golden Russet
Granny Smith
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Jersey Mac
Jonagold
King Luscious
Lodi
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Rhode Island Greening
Rome
Roxbury Russett
Royal Gala
Spencer

 

red apple iconLong Hill Orchards
West Newbury, MA
978-363-2170
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Braeburn
Cameo
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Granny Smith
Ida Red
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Northern Spy
Rome
Royal Gala

 

red apple iconMann Orchards
Methuen, MA
978-683-0361
Apple Type:
Braeburn
Cortland
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Golden Russet
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Paula Red
Red Delicious

 

red apple iconNicewicz Family Farm No Website
Bolton, MA
978-779-6423
Apple Type:
Brock
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Mother
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Vista Bella
Westfield Seek No Further
Wolf River

 

red apple iconOld Frog Pond Farm
Harvard, MA
978-456-9616
Apple Type:

50+ varieties

Organic Apples,

Limited amounts of each

 

red apple iconParlee Farms
Tyngsborough, MA
978-649-3854
Apple Type:
Cameo
Cortland
Empire
Fortune
Fuji
Fulford Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Sansa
Shizuka
Snowsweeet

 

red apple iconPhil’s Apples No Website
Harvard, MA
978-456-3361
Apple Type:
Cortland
Enterprise
Fuji
Golden Supreme
Goldrush
Honeycrisp
Liberty
Macoun
McIntosh
Red Delicious

 

red apple iconRogers Spring Hill Farm
Haverhill, MA
978-372-4780
Garden Center, Hayrides, kids activities, no cider donuts
Apple Type:
Cortland (PYO)
McIntosh
More+

 

red apple iconRussell’s Orchard
Ipswich, MA
978-649-3854
Cider Donuts, Kids Activities
Apple Type:
Baldwin
CandyCrisp
Cortland
Empire
Fuji
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Goldrush
Granny Smith
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Ida Red
Jersey Mac
Jonagold
Liberty
Macoun
McIntosh
Mutsu (Crispin)
Northern Spy
Paula Red
Pink Lady
Pristine
Red Delicious
Roxbury Russet
Suncrisp
Sweet Sixteen
Vista Bella

 

red apple iconSchartner Farm
Bolton, MA
978-779-5588
Apple Type:
Cortland
Empire
Gala
Golden Delicious
Ida Red
Macoun
McIntosh
Northern Spy
Paula Red
Red Delicious

 

red apple iconShelburne Farms
Stow, MA
978-897-9287
Apple Type:
Akane
Autumn Crisp
Baldwin
Blondee
Braeburn
Cameo
Cortland
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Gala
Ginger Gold
Granny Smith
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Ida Red
Jonagold
Jonathan
Macoun
McIntosh
Newtown Pippin
Northern Spy
Pink Lady
Spigold
Winesap
Zestar

 

red apple iconSholan Farms
Leominster, MA
978-840-3276
Cider Donuts, Kids Activities, Wagon Rides
Apple Type:
Baldwin
Crabapple
Empire
Gala
Ginger Gold
Golden Delicious
Golden Supreme
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp
Jonagold
Liberty
Macoun
McIntosh
Northern Spy
Paula Red
Red Delicious
Rome
Shizuka
Zestar
More+

 

red apple iconSmolak’s Farm
North Andover, MA
978-687-4029
Cider Donuts Daily, Kids Activities
Apple Type:
Braeburn (PYO)
Cameo (PYO)
Cortland (PYO)
Empire (PYO)
Fuji (PYO)
Granny Smith (PYO)
Gravenstein (PYO)
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Mutsu (PYO)
Northern Spy (PYO)
Red Delicious (PYO)
More+

 

red apple iconTangerini’s Farm
Millis, MA
508-376-5024
Cider Donuts Weekends, Hayrides, Haymaze
Apple Type:
Cameo (PYO)
Cortland (PYO)
Fuji (PYO)
Gala (PYO)
Ginger Gold (PYO)
Honeycrisp (PYO)
Jonagold (PYO)
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Mutsu -Crispin (PYO)
Red Delicious (PYO)

 

red apple iconWestward Orchard Farm
Harvard, MA
978-456-8363
Cider Donuts Daily, Playground, Adult Activities
Apple Type:
Braeburn (PYO)
Cortland (PYO)
Gala (PYO)
Golden Delicious (PYO)
Granny Smith (PYO)
Macoun (PYO)
McIntosh (PYO)
Mutsu -Crispin (PYO)
Spartan (PYO)

Apple Icon made by Freepik CC

Back to Running: 3 tricks to start again

Back to Running a hill

For the Love of Running

I’m back to running! I have been running for more than half my life and it something I really love. Something in me just loves cruising around the landscape or looking down a hill right after you just ran up it, knowing that every small footfall brought you to where you’re standing. Or mornings, seeing your neighborhood wake up and shuffle out the door. I’ve said before I like running in the morning and it’s still better than coffee!

I love running but a couple of months back, I decided to step away for a while. I have met quite a few people who have consistently run for decades, including both my high school and college coach. Long term runners who’ve never stopped are truly inspiring but, I personally need to take months off to get some perspective or focus on something else. Plus as someone who does not remotely have a runner’s body; running takes it toll, running is a high impact sport and I need to take a break now and then to feel alright and heal. It’s hard to step away, I having been injured on more than one occasion with a bum leg or foot, it’s hard to step away for a while because running feels like a privilege. It’s great to be out there on the open road, but as the song says ‘everything has a season.’ Stepping back has made this blog suffer, but from now on, I’m hoping I’ll be back on here more often.

Back to Running

After taking off time off, the first couple are far from easy physically.

  1. Personally, the first day back never feels too bad during the run, what I think is ironic is walking, afterwards is hard part. Be prepared for sore muscle for a few days and stretch. You will soon realize you were using muscles in ways you hadn’t been. I usually don’t mind stairs, but I hate going up and down them right now!
  2. Having spent a few days going out doing shorter runs, I take a day off and it usually feels great. I also think it makes you stronger, since it gives your body time to adapt. The next run after the day off always feels a little easier, since your body has had the time to adjust to the task you’re putting to it.
  3. Who cares about the time or the pace at the beginning? For the first few weeks I usually pick a route a lot shorter than you know you used to be able to do and just do it. Keeping the new schedule has been hard enough my muscles are sore! I haven’t timed my runs over the last few days simple because honestly, I don’t want to know. It’s too early to be thinking anything about pace or time and getting out there doing it is the goal.

Hitting Mileage, what’s that?

I’m sure I could get on Google and figure out how short the runs have been over the last few days but right now I don’t care. I’m back to running! It’s a great feeling and it really is a great release from all the day’s stresses. Plus the weather has been really great the last few days! It’s finally to starting to feel like summer.

Summer running

Boston is a great city to run in, I was driving along the Charles and the Esplanade. Seeing people cruising along near the water’s edge reminded me about how many great places there are to run around Boston there are. It always seems to be windy but going across the Mass Ave bridge is always fun and the view of the Boston only runners and walkers get to experience is just awesome. Seeing the runners and walkers enjoying the great weather, I wanted to be out with them. I’m looking forward to getting back at it. Summer Running is just simply fun for how many other people are out and about. I lost focus with my running because I didn’t have a set goal. I’m going to train for something longer, just which something is the open question. There are a lot great races around the Boston Area and I would to be in at least a few of them.

Is Running Good for your brain?

runner on the mindGood for your head?

It became conventional wisdom a few years ago that was ‘good for your heart is good for your head.’ Many doctors had already been talking about the benefits of exercise for years but the brain conversation changed the conversation, because we could now do something for our brains! Marketers, like me definitely noticed, the same product began being offered as ‘brain healthy’ with very little proof. When all of this came out, I didn’t think much of it. It was good advice and I was already hooked on running, so seemed mostly like a reason to keep going. It also just made sense to me, what’s good for your heart is also good for your mind.

Is running good for brain?

Last month there was a study out of Finland trying to answer the question about what kind of exercise you should be doing for your brain health. After having rats do different types of activities, some lifted weight, others ran, and another were couch potatoes. The scientists tested all their brains and found some interesting results. They found that the brains of the rats who had run the farthest had more new neurons floating around their heads than either of the two other groups, these were adult rats. What this meant wasn’t exactly clear, but it was pretty safe to conclude that running had been good the rats. They didn’t find any of those new neurons in the weight lifting rats or the couch potatoes. They didn’t say that lifting weight was bad, but it didn’t have the same measurable improvement as running.

Running Further = Smarter?

Those who were doing the study were not willing to say you would definitely have the same affects in humans. But they did say there might be a similar mechanism for humans, though it’s too early to say. It’s good to point out that there has been quite few studies that have been done in rats and then found to not work in humans. Rats are mammals and have a lot in common with humans, but they are not exactly the same physically as us, so it can be hard since science can have a breakthrough in rats and not have it translate to humans at all.

It isn’t even remotely scientific, because it’s my body and I’m not a scientist, but I think we might have a similar biological process to the rats. Running is one of the best stress relieving activities I know about. It totally clears your head better than anything else and helps me focus. I’m not sure if it makes me smarter but it definitely can’t hurt the blood flow to the brain and maybe time will prove it grows brain cells, only time will tell.

Happy Running!

The Treadmill above them all

I have never been a huge fan of treadmills, but for a lot of people that’s how they run. Often you just don’t have a choice either because of you’re nursing an injury, or the temperature is extreme when you have time. Thinking about treadmills has got me wondering, where would be the most extreme place to use one? Antarctica? Mountain top? Well the most extreme actual place I’ve actually heard of, the space treadmill! Astronauts need to train a lot simply to keep muscle when they’re circling the earth, so a lot of them run in Space.

Space Treadmill

The most famous treadmill that I know, is part of the International Space Station (ISS) and where it was installed in 2009. Before it was installed they had a naming contest for the node that would be part of the station. Late night comedian  Steven Colbert heard about it and got his fans to help him win the contest. The node ended up being called Serenity like NASA originally wanted, but they ended up calling the treadmill – COLBERT, or  the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.  Steven Colbert seemed happy to have his name in space and I’m sure only NASA knows how many times its circled the earth by now.

Running without Gravity?

I have to say my first thought is that it would be totally amazing to be in space! But if you’re up there for days, weeks, or even a year, you have to worry about the effect of zero gravity. Human beings are meant to live in gravity. How our bodies function and allows us to move around is because of gravity, so training on the treadmill is really important just to keep muscle mass and the skeleton strong. They simulate gravity by using a series of straps on the astronaut as they run and I would think after you’ve been floating around for a while it would be great change to have your feet on some kind of ground.

The treadmill has had a good use since it was put in space since a lot of astronauts are avid runners! Most recently, it was reported British Astronaut Tim Peake, will be running the London Marathon in space at the same time that the race goes off on Earth. It’s exciting to think someone will be running that far in Space! Awesome if he finishes because he’ll definitely be the first man to run a marathon in space! The problem is that just some reporters got inventive and said he would be the first person to run a marathon in space. The problem is it isn’t true. The first person, was Sunita Williams from Needham, MA, who completed the Boston Marathon back in 2007 in space. She even printed out a number to put on the space treadmill as she ran. It was a cool highlight of the race that year and from everything I’ve heard she’s kept running since then. She also appeared on the Colbert Report to talk about the space treadmill. It’d be cool to run in space and I think it would be only thing to keep me on a treadmill.

Happy Running!

Ryan Hall Retiring

First a shout and congratulations to Belmont, MA’s own Becca Pizzi! She finished the World Marathon Challenge! And set a new world record!

I first found out recently that the great American runner Ryan Hall was retiring. I’ve followed his career for a while and it’s really is too bad. He has been one of the greatest runners American Runners of this generation. He set and still has the US national record in the half marathon of 59:44, beating the previous record by almost a full minute back in 2007. Around New England he is better known for the solid times he has put in the Boston Marathon starting around 2009. He came in 3rd over all that year and then fourth in 2010. Boston 2011 was by far his most impressive showing in terms of time in Boston with a time of 2 hrs 4 minutes and 58 seconds, which was by far one of the best recorded by an American recently.

I first became aware of Hall back when he won the Olympic trials in Houston and set the half marathon National Record. He was pretty new on the scene and we both had finished college about the same time. (Our college careers were nothing alike, winning National Races…yeah…) I followed a lot of his races and was thrilled when he finally started participating in Boston rather than going to the London Marathon, like he had the two years before. I would have loved to see him at a race either along a course or on a track before he hung up his racing shoes. Using one of his ‘slow’ marathon times, he averaged with a pace of 5:15 per mile, which I probably could have kept up with him for maybe like 2 miles 10 years ago. He was an amazing runner.

I would agree Hall’s times have not been what they were before and I think it stinks he is stepping away, US Track will miss him for the foreseeable future. I really admire his commitment to the things he has accomplished. I think it takes a lot to say, ‘I just don’t have it anymore and I have a standard I need to keep competing.’ (Not everyone has the inhuman longevity of Meb) I have only trained for a marathon at the low end of the amateur level, so I don’t think I can imagine the thousands training miles he has done in his professional career, but his times and races still remain highly impressive. I will miss hearing about his latest accomplishment or difficulty, though given his drive and mentality I doubt this is the last we’ll hear from him.

Happy running!

7 Marathons 7 continents 7 days, whew!

I have to say I was surprised and excited to learn last year that someone from around Boston was going to attempt to run 7 Marathons in 7 days! Becca Pizzi from Belmont, MA is part of the 2016 World Marathon Challenge which is a 7 continent challenge, including Antarctica! From the numerous interviews I’ve read about her, from the Herald to People it sounds like she does a lot to prepare for her races and that she’s had a lot of practice. She’s done 45 marathons even before she even toeing the line this past Saturday. She was quoted as being “born to do this.” She makes me feel like a slouch, I’ve only ever run a marathon! Here is the schedule and her results as of my writing:

1st Marathon Saturday 1/23 Grand Total (GT) – 26.2 miles
The first marathon that this multinational squad attempted is on the Union Glacier on Antarctica. It would be neat just to go to Antarctica! It is summer down there which means the conditions were definitely colder than what we’ve had around Boston at 14ºF for the four lap course. Pizzi finished in 3 hrs 57 min 19 sec.

2nd Marathon Sunday 1/24 GT – 52.4 miles
The South American marathon was in Punta Arenas, Chile in the region famous for its scenery, Patagonia. It is a small city of 150,000 people at the southernmost tip of South America, making it the closest civilized place to Antarctica. Per World Marathon Challenge’s Facebook’s page it was a 4 loop course. Pizzi finished in a time of 3 hrs 44 min 18 sec.

3rd Marathon Monday 1/25 GT – 78.6 miles
The ‘local’ North America marathon was in Miami, FL. It was a 4 lap, point to point race along Miami’s famous South Beach in iconic Lummus Park. Running along the beach will definitely be a change from the snow of the Antarctica. Pizzi finished in a 3 hrs 41 min 20 sec hrs.

Casa de Campo Mapa
Casa de Campo, Madrid, Spain

4th Marathon Tuesday 1/26 GT – 104.8 miles
The European marathon is in Spain’s capital Madrid. It will probably be the highest course at 2100 ft of altitude. They will be doing a 10 loop course in Casa de Campo, one of the world’s largest municipal parks. (See Above map) It looks like they will be staying in the flatter part of the park, close to the ‘Lago’ (Lake). Pizzi finished in 3 hrs 48 min 19 sec and is leading the women’s field!

5th Marathon Wednesday 1/27 GT – 131 miles
The African marathon is in Marrakech, Morroco which is an old city with a large historic downtown. It will be a flat 4 lap course near downtown and the last time during the race, they will not be running on the beach. It will mostly like be pretty warm, dry and sunny. The city second highest of the trip on a flat plain at 1529 ft with the Atlas Mountains off in the distance. Pizzi finished in 3 hrs 50 min 47 sec.

6th Marathon Thursday 1/28 GT – 157.2 miles
The Asian marathon is in Dubai. The course is point to point along Dubai’s waterfront and it looks like you can see those man-made islands everyone talks about. It will definitely be one of the warmer places they’ve been so far with an average temperature of 75ºF, which is a winter temperature. It is a good time of year to be running in Dubai because the average temperature in May is 100ºF, never mind the summer months! Pizzi finished in 4 hrs 14 min 41 sec.

7th Marathon 1/29 Friday GT – 183.4
The Australian and final marathon is in Sydney. I think once I got here, I would be so happy provided you weren’t feeling too beat up at this stage. It looks like the route is a point to point course. That is one high mileage week!

Good luck Becca Pizzi & Happy Running!

Turkey Chasers – Thanksgiving Day Races

IMG_1414 (1)Every Thanksgiving morning my family has a tradition of running our local race. From the little research I’ve done, it looks to be part of the holiday for a lot of people. In fact the oldest road race in the US is the Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot, started in 1896 (followed by The Boston Marathon). I feel like there are a lot reasons people enjoy the tradition it’s a great way to get outside, be with those closest to you, and get a little exercise (plus it makes space for that extra pie I always end up eating!)

What I didn’t realize is how many races go off in New England on Turkey day, there are 37 races just in Massachusetts! In the other New England states there are quite a few more: 4 in Maine4 in Rhode Island, 7 in Vermont14 in New Hampshire, and 16 in Connecticut. If my math is right, that makes 82 races in New England just in one day! I wonder what the number is for the whole country? If New England is like the rest of the US, it’s got to be one of the busiest racing days of the year, if not the busiest. Consider the number of races going off at about the same time, you would think people would have gotten a little more original with the names, but ‘Turkey Trot’ is the most common with noteworthy exceptions. I just think it’d add to the fun to have different names; The Turkey Chaser, Cranberry Gobbler, or maybe (ironically) The Thankful Turkey? Here are a few of my favorite New England named races: The Wobble n Gobble in Franconia, NH,  The Great Turkey Escape in Redding, CT, and the Pilgrim Trot in Provincetown, MA.

5,000 meters (or 5K ≈ 3.1 miles) appears to be the most common distance, from just looking over the races. It’s a good distance, especially if you are mainly concerned with finishing it. I would suggest trying to do some training before the race; it will make it a lot easier and more enjoyable race day, the route I usually try to go. If you do come to race day without having had the time to prepare, it is best to pace yourself and slow down when needed. If you do a race with your friends and family, trying not to get the running speed above what you can comfortably do while talking. Thanksgiving Day races are a lot like the holiday itself a great time to spend with those closest to you. Happy Thanksgiving!

(If you are in the New England area and would like to do some running on the last Thursday in November, I would encourage you to click on one of the State links to find a race near you!)

City Sports-Boston Closing

city sports boston t shirtI found out a couple of weeks back that City Sports is shutting down after 30 years! I personally can’t claim to remember a Boston without them. If I was running either a race or a regular run, especially in the summer, I would usually see at least one of City Sports t-shirt. They’ve always had a large selection and were eager to equip you for whatever you needed. Plus they had a lot of really convenient locations. They also had a decent running shoe selection if you knew that was what you wanted. I guess it was just their time, I’ve seen new running stores open recently, like Greater Boston Running Company, and in new places. City Sports has been part of the Boston landscape for a long time, a lot like Newbury Comics. Shortly after learning the news, I made sure to hit up the Harvard Sq store because I wanted to make sure that I got signature ‘City Sports: Boston’ t-shirts. Being in another store a few days ago, it looks like the whole chain will be done at the end of the month. Considering all the race shirts I have at this point I’m happy to include them in the mix.

Boston Marathon

History with the Boston Marathon

I have been Boston area runner for most of my life. You learn 2 things quickly talking with New England runners, firstly we love our Marathon and secondly it’s privilege to run it. For all my life it’s been that way, yes it used to be a lot easier to get in, but running, at least to me, has always been an honor.

The New Englanders that have won are still rightly celebrated, like Bill Rodgers who has won 4 times, and the ever running Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won it 3. They have also been a huge staple of a lot of area races for decades and Samuelson is a delight to bump into. Last year, while at the Boston Marathon, I saw her fly by, definitely setting a steady pace well under three hours. I have had the privilege of running in races with both of them over the years though, Samuelson is only one I’ve had a chance to bump into. She might not be as speedy as she was when she was winning the Olympic Marathon, but she’s still highly impressive.

Up until two years ago, when I got to cheer on a friend running the race, I had never actually been to Boston, I had only followed it on TV. The TV coverage is usually great and the coverage usually gets up close and personal as the elite runners, go at speeds I’ve only dreamed about for 26.2 miles. It is exciting to watch the elites battle it out on TV because honestly you don’t that kind of opportunity along the course because they’re just that quick and it is just a straight shot race, no looping. (I saw Meb zoom by two years ago when he was on his way to winning it and he was there and then gone in what felt like seconds). I honestly don’t think it’s the fault of the TV coverage, but until I went to course, I never really had a clear sense of how many people were there running the course. It is really inspiring because it is an activity for everyone, from the seasoned professional to the average person and the truly inspirational Team Hoyt.

2015_bostonmarathon_coursemap

I have talked a lot with people who have trained for Boston and done a qualifying race and from what they’ve told me, Boston is rarely anyone’s personal record (PR) for 26.2 miles. It is simply a challenging course despite what the altitude map might tell you. It isn’t simply the downhill it’s where the hills come in the course of the race and how much you’re asking of your body 

I also can’t seem to escape talking to anyone who has done the Marathon without hearing some reference to ‘Hopkinton,’ the starting town of the race. It then goes though 8 city and towns with a gradual elevation drop for most of the course until you get to the little bump’ in elevation in Newton, which is the hill most often referred to as Heartbreak, it is about the time in the race when you feel like you are running on empty. The race finally ends near Boston’s Copley Square. I have cheered on races for years and it is still something that thrills me about any race, but I have never seen anything like the Marathon crowds and enthusiasm. I suppose with 30,000 runners it is bound to bring out a few spectators? For me it does not explain the many thousands who line the route every year, I think people are just excited about it. People simply enjoy encouraging one another and for Boston 2016, I’m hoping to be among them.