17 Jul The Second 13.1 Miles
While not as famous a setting as the gilded-age mansions of Bellevue Avenue or the sweeping vistas of Ocean Drive that line the first 13.1 miles, the second half of the Amica Newport Marathon course is a tour of some of Middletown, Rhode Island’s most beautiful preserved lands and rural neighborhoods.
After looping back past Easton’s Beach, runners turn on to the Easton’s Point neighborhood along the water, heading down hill at Sachuest Beach and out on to Sachuest Point. On their left is Norman Bird Sanctuary, which at 325 acres is the largest
preserved open space on Aquidneck Island. The Sanctuary was created in 1949 when Mabel Norman Cerio bequeathed her family’s property to be “…enjoyed by lovers of nature and by the public generally so interested in a spirit of humanity and mercy.”
As they run past a portion of the Sanctuary on the left, to the right runners will pass Surfer’s End, a portion of the beach popular with local wave-riders and visitors. Running along the road and back side of the dunes, the course continues up Sachuset Point, formerly used as town dump and a military installment until the 1970’s. Now, the state of Rhode Island has committed to preserving this 242-acres of land as a Wildlife Refuge.
This spring, thanks to private donations and grants from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Prince Family Trusts and the Easton’s Point Neighborhood Association, the town of Middletown removed 22 power line poles and buried the lines, allowing for this gorgeous, uninterrupted swath of preserved natural space.
Other features of the back half of the marathon course include Tuckerman Ave and Indian Ave., some of the most beautiful (and most expensive) residential neighborhoods in Middletown. For the final few miles of the course, runners loop back to Sachuest point, running past another portion of the Norman Bird Sanctuary and the St. George’s School’s towering, gothic church before a downhill, beachside finish. Cross the finish line, receive your medal, and spend the rest of your day enjoying the beauty that both Newport and Middletown have to offer as you celebrate your accomplishment!