Register early, get ready for some exciting course changes and be on the lookout for elite runners fresh from the London Olympics. These are some of the highlights for this year’s CVS Caremark Downtown 5K, scheduled for Sunday, Sept.16, through the streets of Providence. Now in its 23rd year, the 2012 CVS Caremark Downtown 5K will offer the same race opportunities that runners and walkers of all ages and abilities have grown to look forward to, but with a couple of twists.
First, the course for the main 5K race is new. Changed for the first time in five years, the new course offers fewer sharp turns, making it a “faster course” for some of the elite runners who will be participating in this year’s race. The course will also offer a unique vantage point for some of the runners. As some runners are just stepping over the start line to begin the race, they will have the opportunity to see some of the elite runners heading back to the finish line along Memorial Boulevard from the Crawford Street Bridge.
Second, the 2012 CVS Caremark Downtown 5K will feature some of the most elite runners from around the world – a few of them fresh from competing in the London Olympics and others who are Olympians from previous years. These runners will be vying for the 5K USA Track & Field (USATF) championship – both individual and team champion honors. The participating Olympians will be announced at a later date.
The CVS Caremark Downtown 5K includes 21 different races for children, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, including the CVS Caremark All Kids Can™ Inspirational event for children with physical and intellectual disabilities (youth races run from 8 to 10:30 a.m.); a 3K Inspirational event for high school runners that incorporates a costume contest and is sponsored by Tufts Health Plan (3K begins at 12:15 p.m.); and the 5K event, which draws elite athletes, as well as amateur runners competing as individuals or on college, corporate and gym teams. Walkers and wheelchair athletes are also welcome to participate. The 5K event begins at 11:15 a.m.
Registration is available online – at lower fees than mail-in and onsite registration – from now through Sept. 10 at www.cvsdowntown5k.com. Mail-in forms, which can be accessed through the website, can be sent in through Sept. 6. Onsite registration and packet pickup will be available on Sept. 13 and 14 from noon to 6 p.m. and from Sept. 15 (the day before the race) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rhode Runner, Rhode Island’s premier running and walking retailer, located at 657 North Main Street in Providence. Registration and packet pickup will also be available on race morning (starting at 7:15 a.m.) at Station Park in Providence – located at the corner of Francis Street and Gaspee Street; adjacent to the Providence Place Mall and the Rhode Island State House. All registrants will receive a CVS Caremark Downtown 5K T-shirt.
Approximately 1,000 free parking spaces are available at the Rhode Island State House parking lots. These spaces get filled quickly – usually before 9:30 a.m. on race day – so plan to arrive early. Other parking options include the Providence Place Mall garage and the Rhode Island Convention Center garage – both for a fee.
The CVS Caremark Downtown 5K will start and finish on Francis Street in front of the Rhode Island State House. Additional information can be accessed at www.cvsdowntown5k.com.
All finishers of the youth races will receive medals and the top five finishers in each youth race will receive a trophy. Awards for the youth races will be presented immediately after each race at the finishing line area. For the 5K race, medals for the top three men and top three women runners will be presented immediately after the race on the stage along Francis Street. The full awards ceremony for the 5K will take place at 1 p.m. on the stage located on the State House lawn and will include USATF medals for the top 10 American men and the top 10 American women.