You likely heard we’ve changed up the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half course. If you haven’t viewed the aerial mile-by-mile video, check it out here. We’re also giving you two opportunities to check it out with free group runs led by Team HMF coaches! Preview the course on Saturday, March 25 (8:00 am) in a 10-mile run, or Thursday, March 30 (5:30 pm) in a 6-mile run. Sign up here for details.
We think you’re going to welcome the course changes but don’t just take our word for it – we also have a Middletown resident runner to offer expert opinion!
Salena Chatman is a new member of Team HMF and prolific local runner who recently hit her 100th town on her quest to reach Run 169 status. She ran the half course start to finish a couple weeks ago and offers her own insights and (unfiltered!) opinions below.
First, I have to say....The new course is great! It's not as hilly - that's a huge plus! Ok, ok that's not the only reason though…
If you disliked the uphill Court Street start as much as I did, I'm happy to report it's GONE! Want more good news?? It's still there for the downhill finish...how can that get better?? Remove an uphill and still get the downhill?? Win, win!
Another hill that I won't miss is Church Street, on the previous course it was around mile 1-1.5. You still get to see the main campus of Wesleyan University though, which is a plus. Even better than the uphill being gone is that you get it as a downhill. Seriously, two of the worst hills gone and that's before mile 5 - I know I'm happy about it. You'll also get to see various sections of the Wesleyan campus on the half course.
Since, I'm already talking about hills being gone let's just stay on that topic...did you HATE the long hill on Randolph? Going by the cows was nice but I know I will NOT miss that. It's not completely gone, but what's left is the crest of the hill - short and steep and over before you know it. Even better, you get to go down the hill and pass by Mercy High School. Welcome to mile 7!
Long Hill Road (7.5-8 miles)…the street name says all you need to know! One long hill but it's not crazy.
Then on to Brush Hill (mile 9), it's not huge but you'll notice it. That's the last one in the back half that's worth a mention though - look over the horizon and see if Powder Ridge still has visible snow on its trails.
Time to head into the final stretch of the course. You'll find a gradual downhill on the course around 9.5 as you start to head back toward Wesleyan University. The unpaved Laurel Grove section is back...I love this section, I find it very peaceful. But, it's a short section of the course so if you hate the concept of a non-paved road don't fret, it's not long! Take it in, admire the historic homes on this section of road and if the trees haven't bloomed yet you can catch a glimpse of the Wadsworth Mansion on the right.
Then on to the final few miles...Wadsworth Street has a small incline but the good news is you’re almost at mile 11. Turn left onto Long Lane, you'll know you’re there as you start to see Wesleyan's 4,000+ solar panels on the right. It's a pretty cool sight!
Wind your way back to downtown. Remember that downhill I mentioned earlier on Court Street? Enjoy it, you're almost done. A right on Main Street will showcase our amazing downtown area and maybe you'll see a local restaurant to eat at after you've enjoyed the post-race food. Keep your eyes peeled as you should see the finish line!