The traditional kickoff for Apple Harvest Day, a street festival in Dover with an expected 60,000 in attendance, the Apple Harvest Day 5K Road Race takes place this Saturday.
Historically featuring large spectator crowds, the race this year will offer an entirely revamped lineup of prizes for participants that run three deep across seven age divisions. In working to increase the amount of “race schwag” for participants, which includes numerous gift certificates to Runner’s Alley and custom pint glasses, race organizers said their hope was to enhance the overall experience.
“A lot of the larger races go big with prizes, but some don’t offer anything for people that don’t win their age category,” said Mike Davis, CEO of No Finish Line Running, which was hired to direct this year’s race. “We wanted to make sure we could offer more than was available in previous years.”
Even if a participant does not win a prize based on time, Davis said everyone still comes out a winner, as Penny University Coffee House in Dover will offer one free cup of coffee for anyone who brings in a race bib.
Encouraging entire families is another area of focus for Davis and his team, as the top three families that finish will win passes to a local movie theater. No Finish Line Running’s Deanna “Dj” Swallow said she believes the emphasis on families makes sense given the festivities that follow the race.
“This really is one of the best Seacoast-area races for families to participate in together, as there are so many great family-friendly activities to enjoy after the race at the Apple Harvest Day event,” she said. “We hope we see a lot of families participating together.”
As for the course itself, she described it as fast with times approaching 15 minutes in previous years.
“The course will take you from the busy happenings of downtown Dover to the country-like area and fresh farm air where Mulligan Drive meets the hill that is Henry Law Avenue,” Swallow said. “It's just a short way up and then a nice mile-ish long run down towards the finish and the start of the Apple Harvest Day event in downtown Dover."
Noting that the No Finish Line Running team and training groups run in the Dover area weekly, she said the opportunity to direct the race is very special. “While we are already a pretty close team, collaborating to direct the Apple Harvest Day 5K Road Race has been a lot of fun for us,” she said. “We are excited to see it all come together on race day.”
While online registration is closed, same-day registration will be available. For more information, visit www.dovernh.org/apple-harvest-day-5k-road-race.
Rob Levey is an avid runner and Somersworth resident who works in Portsmouth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.