Spring means warmer weather and longer days, but in Bucks County, Penn., spring also means it's time for the Bucks 5K Series, a sequence of seven individual 3.1-mile (5-kilogram) races that take place from March through June. The series caters to runners, racers and rookies alike.
The Bucks 5K Series started out as the vision of Susan Pajer of Training Zone Sports, a local running and swimming specialty store. Bucks County has always had many spring races -- some even competing for runners on the same day. Pajer came up with the idea to combine several of the races into a single series; in 1996, the Bucks County Spring Challenge Series -- now known as the Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series -- got its start.
In spring 2010, the series celebrated its 15th year and attracted more than 4,350 5K runners and 1,400 fun runners, an 8 percent increase over the year before [source: Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series].
The series includes the following seven races:
- The Central Bucks Family YMCA 5K
- The New Hope-Solesbury Spirit Run 5K
- The Bridge Valley Trailblazer Race for Autism 5K
- The Cornerstone 5K
- The Johnny King-Merino presents the SERTOMA 5K
- The Doylestown Red, White & Blue 5K
- The Chalfont Challenge 5K
Each race includes a 5K as well as a fun run. Runners can participate in one race or all seven. Many running and fitness enthusiasts sign up for all seven runs to accumulate points and compete for a series award.
The runners race for a good cause as well. Over the past five years, the Bucks County 5K Series has raised more than $100,000 annually to support numerous local nonprofit organizations [source: Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series]. The races benefit the Central Bucks Family YMCA's financial assistance program, New Hope-Solesbury's scholarship and athletic fund, the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition, Doylestown Hospital, SERTOMA (a group that provides assistance to those with speech and hearing impairments), Bucks for Kids, OLMC School, Doylestown Community and Business Alliance, and Chalfont's park and trails development program.
In addition to supporting worthwhile causes, the Bucks 5K Series helps many people to get in shape, set fitness goals and share in the camaraderie of running with others.
Read on to learn more about the Bucks 5K Series routes.
Bucks 5K Series Routes
The Bucks 5K Series consists of seven individual 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) races. No matter what your fitness level or running experience is, all you have to do is set your goal and start moving. Whether you're hoping to be the overall series champion, set a personal record, run your first race or simply get out and join in the community fun, the Bucks 5K Series offers a little something for everyone.
Most courses feature a generally flat terrain with gentle elevation changes; detailed maps and elevation specifics for each 5K route can be found on the Bucks 5K Series Web site.
Take a look at the seven individual races, their starting points and the scheduled 2011 race day:
Central Bucks Family YMCA 5K
5K Run/Walk &1 Mile Fun Run
2500 Lower State Road
2011 Race Date: March 20
New Hope-Solesbury Spirit Run
5K Run/Walk & 1 Mile Fun Run
New Hope-Solesbury Upper Elementary School
180 Bridge Street
New Hope, Penn.
2011 Race Date: April 2
Bridge Valley Trailblazer Race for Autism
5K Run/Walk & 1 Mile Fun Run
Bridge Valley Elementary School
2280 Sugar Bottom Road
2011 Race Date: April 16
Cornerstone 5K (Formerly Lab Fitness + Spa 5K)
The Health and Wellness Center
847 Easton Road
2011 Race Date: May 7
Johnny King-Marino presents the SERTOMA 5K
Freight House Restaurant
194 West Ashland Street
2011 Race Date: May 18
Doylestown Red, White & Blue 5K
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Gym
225 East Ashland Street
2011 Race Date: May 28
Chalfont Borough Hall
40 North Main Street
2011 Race Date: June 11
Have you marked your calendar and started training? Read on to learn more about how series results are determined.
Bucks 5K Series Results
Some runners look to the Bucks 5K Series to jumpstart a fitness program, while more competitive runners set goals for new personal records and train to achieve them. Runners can participate in one race or all seven; as a cumulative series, the more races run, the greater the potential awards.
Bucks 5K Series races use the Chrono D-tag timing system featuring a disposable microchip that's worn on the runner's bib or shoe. Each race gives first, second and third place awards in various age groups. The overall male and female winners and the top age-graded male and female master racers are also recognized.
The first seven men and women in each race will receive points in the overall series standings. In addition, the first seven men and women in each age group in each race will receive points in the age group series standings. Runners must run in at least four races to qualify for the Bucks 5K Series overall championship. A runner's best four finishes determine his or her total series points. If there's a tie, series officials will name co-champions and give out duplicate awards. Series overall, masters overall and age group winners will receive a custom-made Bucks 5K Series tile.
Finishes for the masters are determined by an age-graded ranking that compares the runner's individual performance with the average times in a worldwide database. In addition, every race has a one-mile fun run with awards for all finishers. Runners who register for all seven races receive a moisture-wicking long sleeve tech shirt with the Bucks 5K series logo.
All of the race results, complete series standings and information about the Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series may be found at www.bucks5kseries.com.
For more information on long-distance running, see the links on the next page.
More Great Links
- Active.com. "Panera Bread Bucks 5k Series -- 15th annual." (Accessed July 20, 2010)http://www.active.com/running/doylestown-pa/panera-bread-bucks-5k-series-15th-annual-seven-5k-races-2010.
- Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series. "Panera Bread Bucks 5K series." (Accessed July 20, 2010)http://www.bucks5kseries.com
- Yahoo Groups. "Panera Bread Bucks 5K Series Crowns Champions." June 15, 2010. (Accessed July 20, 2010)http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/bucks5kseries/message/115