When the Quarry Road Summer Race Series began last year, it filled a void of a weekly race in Waterville. Many runners were hoping it wouldn’t be just a one-year thing.
“I had people asking me in February and March about this summer’s race series,” said Patrick Guerette, the director of the series. “We had 2 feet of snow on the ground, and people were asking me about (it).”
The series returns this year in a slightly different format, but it will still be every Tuesday night at 6 along the Quarry Road trails. The first race is Tuesday, and will be followed by a barbecue for runners, volunteers and fans.
The series is scheduled to include nine races from June 3 to Aug. 12. Guerette said about 20 runners took advantage of the opportunity to pre-register for the entire series at once. Registration for each race begins at 5 p.m. on race day.
“Most people just show up between 5 and 5:45 with their five dollars, and register and jump in the race,” Guerette said. “We averaged about 50 people a week last year. I think we’ll probably average closer to 60 this year — maybe more.”
While last year’s series included races up to a distance of 10 kilometers, the nine races this summer follow a pattern: 3K, 5K, 8K, and then start over again.
There are also three off days built into the schedule, as well as a make-up day on Aug. 26.
“We did 10 weeks straight last year,” Guerette said, “which is a lot on our volunteers and the runners.”
The off days are coordinated with the Bond Brook 5K Trail Race Series in Augusta, and vice versa. The Bond Brook series runs each Thursday beginning in July, and there are no weeks where both series have an off day. That way, Guerette said, central Maine runners have a nearby option for a trail run every week.
For people who want to compete in both series, there will be a prize for the person who completes each distance in the Quarry Road series and three 5Ks in the Bond Brook series, and has the best overall time.
“We’re calling that the Central Maine Trail Challenge,” Guerette said.
The proceeds from the Quarry Road series support the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA of Waterville, and the Friends of Quarry Road. For more information, including the race schedule, and to pre-register for the series, visit the website.