Newport, RI – Each October, runners come from near and far to compete in the annual Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon. The event, held each year on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend and produced by local business Gray Matter Marketing, draws competitors from across the sport, from those running their first half marathon to those looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The 13.1 and 26.2-mile courses run through Newport and Middletown, putting on full display the famously beautiful scenery. 

This year, the course features a handful of changes from years past, with the intent of improving not only the runners’ experience but also the experience for spectators and organizers during race day. Changes include removing a confusing uphill loop through a parking lot in Fort Adams State Park and utilizing Ledge Road to give runners an even more scenic route by adding additional water views.

The most significant changes were made to the finish line area at Easton’s Beach.  These changes include removing a tight portion of the racecourse along the often-sandy boardwalk at First Beach, removing a long loop in the eastern parking lot of the beach for the full marathon runners, and significantly improving the finish line experience for athletes and spectators by consolidating the post-race medical support/food and beverage/gear bag pick up and shuttles.  

Photo: Jonathan Clancy/Newport Marathon

“Our team meets after every event to discuss ways of improving for the next year. After the 2021 Amica Newport Marathon we decided we could make the event better for everyone.” says Matt Gray, President of Gray Matter Marketing. “This new course and finish line layout will certainly enhance the experience for runners, spectators, volunteers, city officials and our staff. We have executed hundreds of races over the years and felt that these changes were necessary to ensure this event would continue to be the best marathon in the State of Rhode Island.” 

The course is USA Track and Field certified, meaning that the distances are officially sanctioned and runners’ results from the Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon can be used by runners to qualify for other races, such as the Boston Marathon. In the process of re-certifying the updated course, Gray Matter Marketing’s Vice President and Creative Director, Drew Appleton, earned his credentials as a USATF Official.  

“I am proud of my business partner and friend Drew Appleton for pursuing this USATF national certification.  This is not an easy process to undertake, and it shows the commitment we have as race organizers to pursue excellence for our athletes,” says Gray.  

Since 2012, Gray Matter Marketing has produced more than a hundred events, including the BankNewport 10 Miler, Rhode Island Brew Fest, and Citizens Pell Bridge Run. The company has won local, state, and national awards for its events, including accolades for charitable contribution, runner experience, and overall production excellence. The changes to the Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon course are another example of the company’s desire to continue to improve upon race experiences not only for runners, but also the communities in which the events are run. 

The 2022 Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon will be run on October 9th, 2022. There are still a limited number of spaces available for runners for either distance at www.newportmarathon.com . The website also includes information on traffic impact, local charitable partners, and other event information.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.