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home > races/results > usa: vermont > the 23rd annual keybank vermont city marathon and marathon relay—just awesome

The 23rd Annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Marathon Relay—Just Awesome
Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. The Marathon and Marathon Relay run along gorgeous Lake Champlain. You will fall in love with this lakeside college town, Vermont’s largest city. Don’t get shut out of this Marathon: spots are going fast. News flash-price increase January 24, and entry in the lottery for the relay closes January 31, so hurry!

The 23rd Annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Marathon Relay—Just Awesome

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 9 May, 2011

This is a terrific New England Marathon, believe it, folks. It will be the 23rd annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in wonderful Burlington, Vermont, and you can get IN if you hurry. Yes, you can run this marathon or possibly the marathon relay if you act quickly! Don’t get shut out; there are several hundred numbers available for this northern New England classic, which has the reputation of closing out every year. True, the famous two-person and three-to-five person relay divisions are lottery only (limited to 700 teams in each of these two divisions). The lottery drawing is held the first week in February with notifications by February 7, but all teams must enter the lottery by January 31 to have a shot. However, marathon registration is OPEN, though limited to 3,600 entries. It’s a great alternative to—and qualifier for--B.A.A. Boston!

They have a terrific Website which includes all the race essentials, registration, course information, relay details and exchanges, bag drops, course maps, services, information on the Chronotrack B-tag (bib number is the chip), awards, charity participation, training, pasta dinners, Expo, lodging, shuttles, what to do in the area, parking, and so much more.

What a way to spend a long holiday weekend! There is no need to rush right back to work because it is a three-day weekend. Live the entire experience, and enjoy all that Burlington and the surrounding region have to offer. Enjoy the pre-race pasta dinner, awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, the two day Sport and Fitness Expo, the MVP Health Care YAM Kids’ run on Saturday morning at Waterfront Park, and one of the most well organized, best supported, community-integrated road racing events anywhere. Great food, excellent support, beautiful course, live music, and about 1,700-plus volunteers and nearly 10 times as many spectators will provide an unforgettable racing experience.

Speaking of volunteers, if your friends, family, spouse is running and you are there to cheer and support them, why not volunteer and get involved? Click the “Volunteer” tab on the website and be a part of a great happening.

Why has this event grown so popular over its 23-year history? Simply put, the race is done right. Months and months of planning, intricate attention to detail, engagement with and support from the community (Burlington as well as the region and Vermont generally), and outstanding cooperation with governmental agencies, all make this event possible on Memorial Day weekend. This is an event for runners, by runners, and includes a unique overarching commitment to the running community and the sport, as well as the greater community.

There is something for everyone! The Sport and Fitness Expo runs Friday 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center, just off Interstate 89 at exit 14W. This is race headquarters and race packet pick up is available during Expo hours. Helpful seminars are held throughout the day on Saturday. Race-day shuttles run from this hotel and many others (refer to the race website). If you are in town Friday night, make plans to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony; and on Saturday night enjoy one of several pasta dinners hosted by local non-profit organizations. Packet pickup is also available on race day at One Main Street (RunVermont headquarters) from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

Upcoming Preparation
Are you training for the marathon or about to begin? Well, if you are in the Burlington area you might consider joining their 17-week training program which begins February 2. With a 90% success rate this is well worth considering; but capacity is limited to 25 students, so register soon. Registration is available on the Marathon website:

Additionally, the Half Marathon Unplugged, also brought to you by RunVermont, blasts off on April 9, running from Airport Park in Colchester on a scenic, flat course to into Burlington—“no frills, no hills.” It is just a good training run. It is also limited to only 550 runners, so act now to get into that one.

If you notice a pattern here, this is also true throughout the nation: Races are selling out—especially marathons—and you need to sign up now; no procrastination. If running 26.2 is on your list, and you need a spring marathon, Keybank Vermont City in Burlington is your venue.

Also detailed information is available at or e-mail at or by phone at 802-863-8412 or 800-880-8149. The RunVermont offices are located at One Main Street, Suite 305, Burlington, VT 05401 (beautiful, historic neo-classical Railway Station overlooking Lake Champlain).

The Course
This is a unique marathon course—very enjoyable. Three of the four relay handoffs are near Battery Park (start) for the 3 to 5-person teams, an ideal situation for participants and onlookers; and Battery Park overlooks the lake. The two-person team handoff is at the halfway point in Oakledge Park. Relay runners run the same course as the marathon runners.

The course loops out of the central city several times, rolls through the famous Church Street Marketplace, enjoys many miles of tree-lined residential streets, includes a nice out and back section where runners greet each other coming and going, all the while viewing the beautiful Green Mountains, the lake, or New York and the Adirondacks on the far shore. There are several miles immediately along the lake, and the final 4.5 is on a flat rail-trail parallel to the lakefront back to Waterfront Park. Over 30,000 spectators will join in for the race and post race festival—what a party!

There are five-year age groups and nearly $15,000 in prize money. And check the amenities too—such as aid stations every 1.5 miles and clocks every two miles, bag check, showers at the nearby YMCA, and massage for marathoners.

This is a very popular BAA Boston qualifier, with a high percentage of finishers meeting their respective qualifying standards.

This marathon starts and ends on the lakefront at Battery Park and Waterfront Park respectively, with the glittering waters of Champlain contrasting with the Green Mountains of Vermont on one side and the Adirondack Mountains of New York on the other. The lakefront of Burlington is a terrific place to run a marathon. Boats and ferries come and go from the harbor, and the 500-passenger, triple decked cruise ship, Ethan Allen III tours the region. Lake Champlain is a beautiful inland sea, and remains pristine and relatively undeveloped; Burlington is the largest city on the entire lake, and it is just under 40,000 in population. It is blooming and lovely in late May.

Burlington, Vermont
Yes, Burlington is a special place—college town, retail district, and corporate and manufacturing center. It sits on the terraced slopes of Lake Champlain, rising about 300 feet toward the east where the University of Vermont campus dominates. It was the original home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The musical group Phish honed their skills on the University campus before becoming internationally famous. This is a place you really want to visit in addition to participation in this classic marathon and marathon relay.

There are over 75 retail specialty shops and at least 15 national chains in the famous Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian retail district (the marathon runs through it twice). The nearby Shelburne Museum has one of the best collections of Americana anywhere, and should not be missed. The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, adjacent to Waterfront Park and the marathon finish line, is not only a tremendous educational facility, but was one of the earliest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified Green Buildings.

Spend Memorial Day Weekend in Burlington
Late spring in Burlington, Vermont is the perfect time to run. Usually the temperature is ideal and the scent of blooming flowers and budding trees fills the air. And with all that the city has to offer for the entire family, the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon becomes the ultimate destination race. Spend Memorial Day weekend in Burlington. Take a boat tour of Lake Champlain on Saturday, run the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon on Sunday, and spend Monday visiting one of the many local attractions—Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, the Church Street Marketplace, the Green Mountains—the list goes on. And it’s a great way to actually keep that New Year’s Resolution!

Burlington is home to the highly respected University of Vermont and its beautiful campus, as well as Champlain College, Burlington College, and Vermont Community College. St. Michael’s College is in nearby Colchester, just across the Winooski River. Other points of interest include Shelburne Farms, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and many more. The single A Vermont Lake Monsters baseball team plays at beautiful Centennial Field on the UVM campus (Washington Nationals affiliate, New York—Penn League). Live theater offerings include the Flynn Theater and Higher Ground.

The Green Mountain State
Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State; it is also a green state with a state-wide commitment to the environment. It was the first state to completely ban billboards along highways as far back as 1968; this is one of many reasons why running in Vermont is so enjoyable. Vermont has been at the forefront of environmental protection, wise use of resources, and planned, sustainable growth. You will enjoy the scenery and the friendly atmosphere in this northern New England wonderland. Vermont was the 14th state admitted to the union (1791-ranks 43rd in area), and was an independent nation prior to that from 1777 to 1791. Vermont is known for many things, including maple syrup, some of the largest and best marble and granite quarries, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products, and beautiful forests that produce spectacular fall foliage.

Lake Worth a Look
Lake Champlain, named for the French Explorer Samuel de Champlain (explored and mapped the lake in 1609) straddles the border between Vermont and New York, and extends into the Province of Quebec. It is connected to the Hudson River and New York City by way of canals linking the Hudson River, and connects to the St. Lawrence River via the Richelieu River, linking New York City with Atlantic Canada and the Great Lakes as far as Minnesota.

The lake is approximately 107 miles long, varies in width from ½ mile to 14 miles, is about 500 feet deep, and covers 437 square miles. It has over 80 islands, a few very large, and has several ferry crossings, including Burlington to Port Kent, NY, a very pleasant and scenic ride, by the way.

Run Vermont
This is a year-round organization dedicated to advancement of the sport of running in Vermont. They administer several other road races and a youth running program known as Ready, Set, Run. Races include the First Run on January 1st, a 24-year tradition, the Half Unplugged, and the MVP Health Care YAM Scram. Your running “experience” is the result of their many years of expertise—and dedication.

The KeyBank Vermont City Marathon—Your Opportunity
This is your spring marathon. It is open, and it is outstanding. The region, the wonderful small city, the lake, the scenery, the outstanding planning, the embracing, supportive community, and the holiday weekend, all converge to make your marathon terrifically memorable. Get in; apply quickly before all bibs are taken, but do go to this New England classic! It will be just you and 8,000 other runners. This is the one you always wanted.



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