SEA Members Keep CARS Running

SEA 2012

Upcoming SEA 5K Is Part of Concord Race Series

When SEA members Perry Seagroves and Tom Walton first started the Capital Area Race Series (CARS), they viewed it mostly as a way to get more runners to their race, the NHTI/Delta Dental 5K. Seagroves and Walton coach the NHTI cross-country team, and started the collaborative race in 2005.

“In 2004, I got the idea that we should have a race,” said Seagroves, who teaches chemistry and biology at NHTI. “We have a sports management program, and I thought that’d be a great experience. So we had our first NHTI/Delta Dental 5K in April 2005.”

Walton said he and Seagroves then began discussing the idea of creating a series and including several other springtime road races.

“We thought that it made sense to take some of these local races, string them together and offer some incentive to get people to do a few of them,” said Walton, who is an adjunct professor at NHTI in addition to his job as a fitness coach at Delta Dental. “The idea was mostly to encourage participation in the Capital Region.”

Walton said the success of the series has been a good surprise.

“It’s taken off way beyond our humble beginnings,” Walton said. “It’s gone a little bit crazy, but in a good way.”

The SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk is the second race in the seven-race series. This year, the SEA 5K will take place on Saturday, April 5.

“Over the years, the SEA has always been a part of our race series,” Seagroves said. “We’ve had other races come and go, like the Rock ‘N Race. I’ve always enjoyed the SEA race. I’ve run it most years.”

Seagroves said once they started the cross-country team, they started bringing the students to the race, too.

“We always run a team, and we use it for a good, beginning-of-the-spring workout,” Seagroves said.

For one NHTI runner, Heather Searles, the SEA 5K was her first race. She went on to become a three-time All American and won the USCAA Women’s National Championship in 2008.

“She’s a famous runner, and her first race ever was that 2006 SEA 5K,” Seagroves said. “That’s a neat distinction.”

While CARS brings many runners in to the SEA 5K, Seagroves and Walton both said the atmosphere at the race is a tremendous draw.

“The course may not be that memorable, but the atmosphere definitely is,” said Seagroves, playfully jabbing at the SEA 5K’s mostly flat course through the state office complex on Hazen Drive in Concord. “It’s one of the most upbeat races, as far as the volunteers and people involved in it.”

Walton, agreed, saying he encourages the people he works with at Delta Dental to try it out to get a sense of the community of running.

“They find it’s very inclusive,” he said. “It’s not just about going out and being good, it’s about the camaraderie and joy of it.”

Walton said it’s a race for all ages and abilities.

“At the SEA 5K, you’ll see people come in under 15 minutes and people come in in an hour and 15 minutes,” he said. “That’s a unique thing, and a uniquely wonderful thing.”

If you’ve never taken part in the SEA 5K, or any road race, this is the perfect time to try. You can run or walk your way through it, taking it casually or engaging in a little friendly competition. If you sign up before tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 21, you’ll even be entered in a drawing to win free entry into all of the CARS races.

You can find out more about the SEA 5K, including how to sign up, at You can find out more about the CARS races at


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