The Chelsea Chase (results) is a value race. 30 bucks or so scores you a technical running shirt, the usual bag swag, two adult beverage tickets, a buffet lunch, and the unique privilege of taking part in a running route that breaks many agreed-upon laws of physics and geography. Despite being an out and back loop, the route gains some 20,000 feet of elevation. It’s uncanny.
I don’t know how the organizers managed it, but the entire circuit leads stubbornly uphill. The starting line is down near sea level with sea gulls enjoying snacks in a Market Basket parking lot, but less than a mile into the run you find yourself well above the tree line with sparse vegetation limited to mountain blueberry bushes and hardy lichens clinging to glacial boulders; on a clear day you can probably look down from the finish line and see the Prudential Center Spire, the Hancock Tower observation level, and perhaps even what is on sale in the window of the gift shop at Story Land. Truly remarkable!