Runners pound pavement in popular road races

February 19, 2012 by  

Road races are growing in communities across America. From marathons, half marathons, 10k, 5k and fun runs for families, thousands of participants are traveling to races as part of “running tourism”. Road races are great opportunities for print companies do a fast-paced business in banner printing, for the starting line, the finish line and sponsor advertising along the route.

In Peabody, there are only three races a year. Other Massachusetts cities host a handful of races every year, but if Peabody and neighbouring towns are anything like nearby Salem, there will soon be a need to regulate them more closely.

Traffic is getting so congested in that community with runners during race season that the municipal parks and recreation department will have to start approving all race events.

City council in Salem has already begun the approval process for not only road races but any other event that would potentially block streets, green spaces and city property. The police department will also be involved as intersections will have to be shut down.

City council put road race approval on a recent meeting agenda because of growing complaints by citizens that weekend traffic is interrupted with road closures. Salem is a “runner-friendly” city. There were nine races scheduled annually in 2009 – this year 18 races are on the slate.

“This is not a bad problem to have,” said Jerry Ryan, councillor for Ward 4 in Salem. Ryan is a runner himself and participated in two races last year. “Running is good.”