41st BOF Classic fast approaching

  • Runners start off down Bridge Street during last year’s 40th Bridge of Flowers Classic in Shelburne Falls. This year’s race is fast-approaching, set for Aug. 10. Staff FILE Photo/Dan Little

  • Runners compete in the 40th Bridge of Flowers Classic in Shelburne Falls last year. The 41st edition is set for Aug. 10. Staff FILE Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 7/18/2019 7:18:42 PM
Modified: 7/18/2019 7:18:32 PM

The 41st annual Bridge of Flowers 8K Classic and 3K Charity Race is set for Aug. 10 in Shelburne Falls with a competitive field of runners expected to be in attendance. 

USA Track & Field has certain races every year that are part of a championship series, with races ranging from 5Ks to marathons.

This year, for the first time since 2010, Bride of Flowers was selected as the 8K New England Championship race by the USATF governing body, making it part of its annual racing series.

With it being part of the USATF-NE Road Race Grand Prix, assistant race director Dan Smith is expecting runners from all over New England to be in attendance. 

“We’re expecting a great turnout,” Smith said. “What’s really cool about this is we’re going to have runners coming from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont — all these racing clubs because it’s a championship race. They’ll be of all age groups, and the top people in those age groups, so it will be a really big, competitive field.” 

The 8K race, described as one of the toughest in New England, begins at 9 a.m., and the Steve Lewis Charity 3K race will start at 8 a.m. — 15 minutes earlier than it typically kicks off. 

The race typically attracts a combined 800-1,000 runners in the 8K and 3K races, but with this year’s event being part of the New England Grand Prix, Smith says the goal is to get over 1,000 runners, which would make it the most attended race in its 41-year history. 

Like last year, all finishers of the 8K will receive a medal, and other prizes will be given after the runners cross the finish line. 

“Every runner that enters and is 21-plus can get a free beer from Floodwater Brewing Company,” Smith explained. “Twenty-one-and-under will get a free ice cream from Moe’s Fudge Factory. Free pizza will be available to everyone after the race courtesy of Pondside Pizza.”

The race is giving out $10,000 in prizes, as well as gift certificates, making it the biggest prize purse the race has ever had. 

In addition to the overall winners getting prize money, winners of each age group from ages 40 to 75, with the groupings done in five-year sections, will receive a cash prize, giving more runners an opportunity to earn money at the race.  

“One thing that’s really different from our race to a lot of other races,” Smith said, “is we have the Grand Prix, and if you win your age group over 40 all the way through 75-plus, the winner of the age group wins $150, which is a lot to do across all age groups. Sometimes you have a race that has a prize group for 40-plus only. Race director Mike McCusker has done a great job making sure runners of all age groups were well-incentivized. One-hundred and fifty is the most we’ve ever done.”

Registration is open until Aug. 7, but racers may sign up at the race for $5 extra.

The sign-up fee for the 8K is $40 for those between the ages of 19 and 69, and $20 for the 3K.  

Ages 18 and under pay their age, while those over 70 run for free. 

Shirt ordering with registration closes July 27 at midnight. The price for a shirt is not included in the registration fee.

The race has three fundraising options: you cannot specify which charity the funds go, you can direct funds to a specific charity or you can fundraise through your own page. 

The 2019 charity partners of Bridge of Flowers are DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services, the Cancer Connection, The Art Garden, Friends of Children and the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team.

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