Getting ready for the Restaurant Run. In two years the Restaurant Run on Half Marathon day has become an institution. What was an innovative idea last year was taken for granted by runners and spectators this year. Last year it was innovative. This year it was expected and nearly perfect.
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an all volunteer group, manage the race and DNB, Inc. coordinates the Restaurant Run.
Here is what the Half Marathon race chairman Dan McCarthy had to say, “I never could have imagined that Diane Nichols and her team could have pulled together all of the great vendors, restaurants and bars in such a short time back in 2009. It was truly amazing how well local businesses embraced her enthusiasm and that of her team. I never could have dreamed DNB Inc. could outdo their 2009 Restaurant Run, and boy was I wrong!! There was magic in the air downtown this past Sunday. What a great success in only its second year. I am excited for the future of the Restaurant Run and I am sure the merchants, restaurants and bars are as well!”
Once again we see what can happen when everyone works together. The volunteer spirit is very strong here, and there was great cross promotion between the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and DNB, Inc. DNB, Inc. volunteer Jeff Pontiff is also a volunteer for the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Family members of DNB, Inc. members and staff ran in the race. The Half Marathon Runners helped promote the Restaurant Run after the race.
An event like this requires that leaders, volunteers (hundreds of them including race volunteers), merchants, food vendors, city government, the National Park and museums all participate. They did. Their participation showcased a friendly and welcoming downtown. John Braun, the race announcer, kept the spectators at the race informed and interested. He also promoted the Restaurant Run. “Downtown is open,” he kept saying. Even the weatherman, who may have felt remorseful about the rainy day for the Holiday Stroll, sent us a perfect spring day.
Merchants and restaurants report a successful day. At the Bedford Merchant customers were overheard planning return trips to the city.
While Mayor Scott Lang was quoted in the Standard Times saying he was listening for crowd noise in the restaurants and shops, we were looking for lines. Lines mean people. A city without occasional lines is not a busy city. Lines in downtown New Bedford on a Sunday afternoon are to be celebrated. There were lines in the morning to get off Route 18. Lines to get into the Elm Street Parking Garage which, fully lighted and cleaned up, was far more welcoming than last year. There were lines for bathrooms everywhere and lines out the door at restaurants. TL6 the Gallery stamped 150 Restaurant Run brochures for people looking for prizes. As the afternoon ended there were lines of traffic going down Union Street to leave the city.
How crowded was it? Crowded enough that people who were looking for each other had a hard time locating each other because of the crowds.
At any event, there is always room for improvement, but this event seemed to be about as good as it gets.