, Newburyport, MA

December 31, 2013

Catching up with Hangover Classic race director Nick Paquette

By Tim Lima
Sports Reporter

---- — The Winner’s Circle Running Club will hold its 33rd installment of the race that has become commonly known as the Hangover Classic at 11:30 on New Year’s Day morning. The race, technically called The New Year’s Day Classic, will begin at the Carousel Lounge at Salisbury Beach. This event is just one of several races held by the Winner’s Circle Running Club, a nonprofit organization that raises thousands of dollars annually for local charities. Just recently, the nonprofit organization held the Santa’s Elves’ Toy Trot to collect toys for children in need of cheering up.

The Winner’s Circle Running Club Newsletter editor and The Hangover Classic race director Nick Paquette took the time to answer questions related to the event and who it benefits.

First of all, can you explain who the race benefits? Is it for charity?

“The race is for charity and the proceeds go toward keeping our charitable giving alive. High school groups throughout the year, the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Red Cross are just some of the charities that benefit from this race. The money raised at the Hangover Classic also goes toward covering some of our adult and children running programs.”

How long is the race?

“It is a 5K and a 10K, so 3.1 miles and 6.2 miles, respectively. You’re locked into the race you signed up for because the courses are different and it is chip-timing.”

Can you talk about the terrain of the course? Do you run at all on the beach sand?

“There is no beach running. The 5K course is run through the neighborhoods of Salisbury Beach. It heads down Oceanfront Street and comes through the main Salisbury Beach strip and turns around where Route 1A is, then comes back. People get to see the town and they finish right on Oceanfront Street where they can hit the beach. There, they can take the ocean plunge, or not. The 10K is extremely flat, round and fast and turns around right before the New Hampshire border.”

How much does it cost to run in the race?

“Both races are the same price — it’s $30 to register.”

How literal is the name of your race — are people really showing up hungover?

“The name is a fun sort of a thing. Some people may show up hungover, but most people are fine and behave themselves the night before. It’s New Year’s Day, so the race earned the fun nickname over the years and it just stuck.”

Talk about the post-race party. What type of things are going to be going on, and who can attend?

“The racers and their families can attend. It’s sponsored by our gracious host Nick and George Nahbin, owners of the Carousel Lounge. They have been generous hosts and have let us have the run of the place for the last 10 years. They’ve been nice enough to welcome cold runners who just plunged into the ocean, so they’ve been wonderful. Woodstock beer is also our sponsor, so our runners can enjoy their beer.”

Are there prizes for top finishers in the race? If so, what are they?

“There are cash prizes for the top three men and women in both races along with gift certificates. We also have beer glasses and gloves that they win, along with other things. We give quite a big of swag. We also give cash prizes for the top 40+ age runners.”

How many runners do you have signed up and how many can you have total?

“We can have 1200 total runners but we haven’t met that number yet. We are over half way there but the next week should be big for us. We have t-shirts for 1,100 runners so probably everybody who sign up will be able to get one. Most years we have 1,000 – 1,100 runners.”

Is this one of your biggest races of the year?

“This used to be the biggest race but now we have a small rivalry with the April Fools Race. Both races are part of the “Run for Beer” series, where people come running and there’s a beer sponsor afterword where people can taste their craft beer.”

The event promises to be a fun affair for all involved. Whether volunteering, running or taking part in the plunge into the frigid ocean following the race, the Hangover Classic is guaranteed to be a fun way to ring in the New Year and raise money for great causes. And, it involves beer. What more can one ask for?