By Curt Brown
New Bedford Standard-Times
NEW BEDFORD — The 32nd New Bedford Half Marathon on Sunday marked a new beginning with the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick taking over the race, and provided financially hard-pressed downtown restaurants, pubs and retailers with a shot in the arm as runners and their families stayed around after the race to eat and drink.
The Restaurant Run, the inventive marketing plan of Downtown New Bedford Inc. that got businesses to remain open from noon to 4 p.m. on the day of the race, proved highly successful. The race started downtown at 11 a.m., and most of the runners had completed the course by 2 p.m.
Restaurants and taverns were hotbeds of activity as runners and their families stayed and enjoyed some “local flavor,” as Ward 4 Councilor Bruce Duarte called it, after the race.
“The city of New Bedford is a winner today,” Duarte said at ceremonies held at City Hall to honor the winners.
Chris Donnelly, president of the Friendly Sons, which took over the race from the New Bedford Half Marathon Committee, praised their predecessors for their cooperation in making the transition seamless.
He said their goal is to get the runners, their friends and families to remain in the city after the race.
“We want people to have a good race, have a safe race and enjoy New Bedford,” he said. “We’re here for the community.”
He said the Friendly Sons is a charitable organization and all the money they make from the race will go to their scholarship fund.
Geoff Smith of Mattapoisett, the two-time winner of the Boston Marathon who holds the course record for the New Bedford Half Marathon with a time of 1:01:58 set in 1985, commended the Friendly Sons for their fine job.
“It’s like a new race, a new beginning,” he said. “It started with a bang. It’s a showcase for the city. What better way to showcase the city than with 2,000 runners?”
According to the Friendly Sons, 2,166 people registered for the race and 1,951 people finished it.
The men’s winner was Patrick Tarpy of Providence, a 2005 graduate of Brown University, who was in “uncharted territory,” having never run a race more than 10 miles before.
He finished with a time of 1:03:27.
The 26-year-old runner said he was really pleased to win and thanked spectators for cheering him on as he ran.
Contact Curt Brown at email@example.com.
March 16, 2009
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090316/NEWS/903160315
By Curt Brown