SALISBURY — With snow on the ground and temperatures predicted to be in the low 30s, New England is preparing a cold welcome to the heartiest of runners, as the 32nd annual Winner’s Circle Running Club New Year’s Day Classic 5K and 10K races will take off out of the Carousel Lounge.
“It has been a great tradition for the Winner’s Circle,” said Don Hennigar, Newburyport High School cross-country coach and well-known runner, of the race (also know locally as the Hangover Classic). “And they do a great job with it. So, hopefully, the weather is going to cooperate. That’s always a big factor in all this. How the weather is going to do.”
Weather certainly played a part in last year’s success as spring-like, 50-plus degree temperatures greeted the over 1,300 runners, making the race’s non-official second leg — a dip in the Atlantic —almost bearable.
“You’re not going to get many of those,” Hennigar said of last year’s warm weather. “There’s also been years where it has been sub-zero.”
This year, the weather should be decidedly colder and Hennigar has yet to decide if he will run, but he does know what he will do about that little dip if he does.
“That I have not done,” Hennigar said of the polar bear plunge. “There are plenty of people who do, but I stay out. The only water I jump into is a warm shower at my house. That’s the only water I jump into. There are a lot of people who go into the water and, as always, there’s a big party afterward.”
Hennigar has run the Classic more than a dozen times, which means in all kinds of weather, and, as with all New England activities from November to May, he said that preparation is key.