Racing schedule has some notable changes

This spring brings some changes to the road race schedule.

One popular, long time race has been canceled while another has been moved to a new location because of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

And the Hartford Marathon Foundation continues to increase its offerings in southeastern Connecticut by adding a trail race at Bluff Point State Park in Groton.

Last week, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital surprised many of us by canceling its Spring Stride road race after 25 years.

This was one of the region's biggest races with more than 1,000 runners and walkers in some years.

But the hospital has announced that it was ending the race because of declining participation and sponsorship. It could no longer justify the cost of staging the fundraising race and felt it would be better to focus on its other fundraising sources.

It's sad to see the race go away but you can't argue with the hospital's reasoning - they are a business after all.

Another long running race, the 32nd annual Clamdigger race on Sunday, is usually held at the Westerly Town Beach in Misquamicut but will now be held at the Avondale Preserve in Westerly.

The race had to be moved because the town beach was badly damaged by the hurricane and is undergoing repairs.

The five-mile event has also been shortened to a 5K.

Net proceeds will benefit the reconstruction of the beach and plans are to return to the town beach in 2014. The race begins at 11 a.m. and there is a free 1K kids race. For more information go to www.westerlytrackclub.org.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation has added a four-mile trail race on June 23 at Bluff Point. The field is limited to 400 runners.

Bluff Point is one of the best places in the region to run and already hosts two other races - the Spartyka Wounded Warrior 5K race on May 11 and the Twilight Trail Run on May 31.

The HMF also sponsors the O'Niantic 5K, the 19.7 Ocean Beach Triathlon, the Niantic Bay Triathlon and the Surftown Half Marathon, which is adding a 5K this fall.

And for something different: In the spirit of the Krispy Kreme Challenge in North Carolina in which you have to eat a dozen glazed doughnuts halfway though a five-mile run, Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House in Warwick, R.I. has come up with their own run-eat challenge. On Sunday at noon, runners will eat a dozen of the mini pieces of fried dough halfway through a one-mile course.

On the schedule: The 20th annual Salem Road Race, a 5K event, will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13 at the Salem School. This race uses age-graded results. For more information go to www.salemctroadrace.org. The Great Strides 5K road race will be held Sunday, April 14 at 10 a.m. at Great Neck School in Waterford. More information is at www.waterfordschools.org/gn.

Joe Wojtas is The Day's running columnist

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