2nd Annual Gay Head 10K Race A Rousing Success

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  • Volunteers Dottie and Barry Sullivan and Betsy Blake give out race numbers
  • Jamie Smadbeck, overall winner
  • Lianne Swanson, winning female runner
  • Isaac and Alexandra Taylor
  • Cheering them on
  • Beverly Wright congratulates Spencer Booker
  • Dana Gaines, island kayak circumnavigator, also ran the 10K
  • Medals for the winners
  • Beverly Wright, Barry Sullivan, Martha Vanderhoop

Under sunny skies and facing a stiff autumn wind, 146 runners followed the scenic State Road/Moshup Trail course for 6.2 miles on Sunday, starting and ending at Aquinnah Circle in the lee of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Overall winner was Jamie Smadbeck, 27, of Edgartown and Worcester, with a time of 40:18:00.  The female leader was 24-year-old Lianne Swanson of Somerville, MA, who came in at 42:08:00. Click here for overall results and here for age group results.

According to Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee chairman and Gay Head 10K organizer Beverly Wright, the race will return next year. Co-director Martha Vanderhoop said, “It was a fantastic day for the lighthouse and we could not have pulled it all together without everyone’s hard work and time. The plan is to move the lighthouse to its new, safer location in the spring of 2015. The proceeds from this event help us climb further toward our fundraising goal. We hope all the runners will join us again next year and for many years to come.”

“We’ll keep holding the race as a community event and also to keep raising money to maintain this historic structure,” said Ms. Wright.

Volunteer Betsy Blake, visiting from Wellington, FL, marveled at the community spirit she saw on race day. “Everybody is just so kind and happy to be here, and they made me feel at home. I hope I can run the race next year and also see the lighthouse in its new location.”

See MV Gazette and MV Times articles



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Saving the Light: A Year in Pictures

Since the Save the Gay Head Light project began in the summer of 2013, we’ve raised over half of the $3 million needed to move and restore the lighthouse. We’ve had concerts and a footrace and a solo kayak circumnavigation of the island and two summer solstice parties. We’ve sold mugs and tee shirts (lots and lots of tee shirts), bumper stickers and tote bags.  A tennis tournament, art show, winter solstice party, poetry project and even lemonade stands rounded out the year of fund-raising and awareness-building. We’ve had big donations from all the towns on the island, and donations of all sizes from islanders and visitors. Here are a few memories of the past year:

You may hover over the photos to see the larger version.

  • Dawn beneath the Gay Head Cliffs: Dana Gaines begins his 52-mile kayak trip around the island
  • West Chop rip
  • Mitzi on the chase boat
  • Wake off East Chop
  • Approaching Light
  • The finish line is in sight
  • Beneath the Light
  • Dana Gaines at the finish
  • Dana Gaines and Len Butler after the finish
  • Meg Bodnar, Mitzi Pratt, Dana Gaines, Len Butler
  • Circumnavigation route by kayak
  • Legacy of Light poetry book cover colors
    Legacy of Light: Poems for and about the Gay Head Lighthouse, hand-bound books. Click photo to order!
  • Summer Solstice Party, June 2014
  • Smiles at the Light: Richard Skidmore, Len Butler, Derrill Bazzy, Jim Pickman
  • Grand entrance of The Green Man, Summer Solstice Party
  • The Green Man
  • Rosanne Cash
    Rosanne Cash performed in July 2014 to help save the Gay Head Light
  • Gay Head Light tee shirt
  • 1st Annual Gay Head 10K, 2013
  • At the start: Gay Head 10K
  • After the 10K
  • Happy runners
  • We love the Gay Head Light!
  • Len Butler thanks all the race participants
  • Gay Head 10K route
    General route of the Gay Head 10K
  • child tee shirt
    More love for the Gay Head Lighthouse
  • Close to the edge!

~ Dana Gaines on-water photography by Tad Thompson


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Thanks for a Great 10K!

The Save The Gay Head Lighthouse Committee would like to thank everyone who helped to make the second annual Gay Head 10K, a Race Against Time, the resounding success that it was.

The race would not have been possible without our generous and supportive sponsors: Cronig’s Market, WBUR, Artforms, Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Flanders Up-Island Real Estate, Hinckley Lumber, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, Santander, South Mountain Company, Thunderbird, Wynn and Wynn, Beetlebung Tree Care, Cape Air, CB Stark Jewelers, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, Martha’s Vineyard Insurance, Coca Cola of Martha’s Vineyard, DaRosa’s MV Printing Company, Island Source, Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing, Orange Peel Bakery, Stop & Shop, Tilton Tent Rental, the Tisbury Farm Market, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

Volunteers came from every island town and included: the Aquinnah Police and Fire Departments, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), police officers from Chilmark, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, Tri-Town Ambulance, MVRHS Cross Country Team, and anyone else we may have inadvertently missed.

Joe and Marylee Schroeder added a wealth of information and help up to and during the race. And the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce also rallied for our cause.

We would also like to extend special thanks to the Aquinnah Police Department, especially Chief Randhi Belain, and Jay Smalley, Frank Perez and their crew. Thanks also to Paula and David Eisenberg for donating & manning the pace car. And a very appreciative thank you to Marshall and Joseph Lee for putting in the time and effort to measure the course for certification by USA Track and Field.

And, of course, many thanks to all the runners, for without

Continue reading Thanks for a Great 10K!

Gay Head Light Project Will Bypass MVC Review – MV Gazette

Next step in relocating Gay Head Light involves intensive archeological survey.

Next step in relocating Gay Head Light involves intensive archeological survey.

The project to move the Gay Head Light will bypass a major hurdle in the regional planning process. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission decided Thursday that the project will not need review as a development of regional impact, or DRI.

The Aquinnah planning board review committee had referred the project to the MVC in September due to the archeological sensitivity of the site. But the committee had recommended that the MVC not review the project, since local, state and federal processes were already in place to protect any archeological resources.

“We feel there are more than adequate measures in place to deal with the concerns that you would have,” said Aquinnah planning board chairman Peter Temple who attended the MVC meeting Thursday night along with town administrator Adam Wilson.

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MVC Is Next Stop for Gay Head Light

gay head lighthouse relocation location

The process unfolds. ~ courtesy Len Butler

The Gay Head Light relocation project will be referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for possible review as a development of regional impact, the Aquinnah planning board decided this week. And discussions remain ongoing between the town and abutters who will be affected when the lighthouse is moved sometime next year. “This whole process is in motion,” planning board chairman Peter Temple said at a public hearing Tuesday. The board voted formally to refer the project to the MVC, although the commission has already said informally that it may pass on the review since the project is already under detailed review by the town, state and tribe.

Continue reading……

Gay Head 10K Runners: Island Lodging Discounts Announced

Coming to the Vineyard for the Gay Head 10K? The race is on Sunday, Oct. 5, and several island inns are offering runners discounted rates for the race weekend. In Aquinnah, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown, you’ll find sweet deals if you click here to view the list of participating lodgings.

Aquinnah Approved for Gay Head Light Ownership - MV Gazette

Gay Head Light

Aquinnah is on track to acquire the 1856 brick lighthouse, which needs to be relocated. Photography: Timothy Johnson

The town of Aquinnah is one step closer to taking ownership of the Gay Head Light, with the Department of the Interior approving the town’s application to take possession of the endangered lighthouse.

Once approval comes from the General Services Administration, the town will become owner of the 1856 brick lighthouse perched on the westernmost edge of the Island. One of the town’s first acts as steward will be to move the lighthouse, which is now less than 50 feet away from an eroding bluff.

In March, the town submitted an initial application to the federal government to take possession of the lighthouse. The U.S. Coast Guard declared the lighthouse surplus property last August because it was no longer mission critical. The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act allows the Coast Guard to transfer ownership of surplus lighthouses at no cost to qualified state or local governments or nonprofit organizations.

Continue reading…..

Reflections On An Epic Voyage: Dana Gaines Remembers

Dana Gaines Gay Head Cliffs

When Dana Gaines finished his 52-mile circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard on August 9th, he knew he had raised thousands of dollars to save the Gay Head Lighthouse, under whose beam he had begun to paddle at dawn that morning. Three weeks later, he looks back and takes us through the day, from the waters below the lighthouse, past Squibnocket and Makonikey and Wasque and all around the north shore, back to the now-calm sea below the light. Continue reading……


Approaching Light

Three Weeks Later

Dune, approaching Squibnocket 6:15AM

SATURDAY, August 30th– How time flies; I’ve been enjoying taking it fairly easy, mixing more running in with paddling, while at the same time gearing up for the 14-mile Lighthouse-to-Lighthouse Race/East Coast Surfski Championships in Connecticut on September 6th. I still marvel at what a perfect day August 9th was…. but inevitably the racer in me thinks of things which could have been done differently to turn in a faster time. The trip was really a tale of two halves; the first half was considerably slower than anticipated, while the second half (and particularly the final third) was much, much faster. Starting an hour earlier would have made a huge difference, as I not only got caught by the foul flooding current during the first hour but, inexplicably, it persisted well beyond, and kept progress slow in the Atlantic where I expected to encounter no current at all. Still, I never would have wanted to ask my chase boat to begin that early, and by 5:30 we had adequate light to see where we were going and enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the Moshup Trail.

While my navigational GPS had decided not to operate properly and was providing no data whatsoever, the heart rate monitor told the story: rather than my planned 5.5 mph, keeping HR below 110, I was making 5.0 to 5.2 mph @ HR 130+…. and therefore expending considerably more energy than anticipated over the combined 22 miles from Aquinnah past Squibnocket and down to Wasque Point. That added unnecessary stress, because I knew I had to arrive at Wasque no later than 9:30, and was hard pressed to do so.

Continue reading Three Weeks Later