Commemorating its 30th year, Dedham’s James Joyce Ramble next month will have another cause for celebration: the race will be the host for the USA Track & Field National Masters 10K Championship.
A regional championship for the active running community for several years, the Ramble was selected as the championship race after a race in Ann Arbor, Mich., was unable to serve that role, according to Ramble organizer Martin Hanley.
“There’s no doubt from anyone that runs in our race that we put in our full commitment,” Hanley said in a recent interview.
Starting and ending at Dedham’s Endicott Estate, each mile of the race is named after a work by Irish author James Joyce.
Hanley, a second generation Irish-American, came up with the idea to honor Joyce through a race as a way to celebrate Irish heritage as well as the idea of artistic expression.
The first few years Hanley held the race, some runners competed with copies of “Ulysses” in their hands, reading as they raced. Hanley thought that might be a safety hazard, so he solicited actors to perform Joyce readings at strategic points along the way.
“It’s the only theatrical performance where the audience is on the move and the performers are standing perfectly still,” Hanley said.
Many of the actors wear early 20th century clothing to get into character, he said.
Hanley also dedicates the race to a Human Rights activist each year. He began in 1984 by dedicating the race to Vaclev Havel, a Czech playwright who had been imprisoned for the words he had written. Havel later went on to become the first leader of the Czech Republic.
This year, the race will be dedicated to Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment for participation in “illegal gathering” and “disturbing public order,” according to Hanley.
“We urge Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly,” Hanley wrote in the Ramble program.
The race will be held on Sunday, April 28, and is presented by Subaru of New England. For more information, visit www.ramble.org.