The Third Annual Middlebury Maple Run—The Sweetest Half
Don’t miss the third annual Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon, Middlebury, Vermont on May 1. It’s the “Sweetest Half,” a must-do on your race calendar. Set in historic and lovely Middlebury, runners of all ages and all paces will enjoy a scenic 13.1 tour along the farms, villages, and Middlebury College; and the two-person relay too. I ran it last year and had a blast!
Posted Wednesday, 19 January, 2011
It is serene, relaxing and simply a wonderful event in beautiful Vermont. This is a terrific run through a vibrant college town, the Green Mountains as backdrop, with beautiful and historic farmland and the quintessential covered bridge. Much of it passes by horse farms and pastures. It has an open country rural loop to the north of town, a terrific roll through an unbelievably enthusiastic Middlebury College campus, and a wonderful packed dirt and gravel out-and-back to the south. The start and finish venue, Porter Medical Center, is ideal and traffic free.
This is Vermont at its best, with budding spring exploding throughout. The race organizers—Co-Directors Sue Hoxie of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Andrea Soloman of Middlebury College--are pulling out all the stops to make this another terrific and memorable event, and even making some improvements over the first two years, though they went off without a hitch.
This year there will be cash prizes for top finishers: Individual open, individual masters, and teams. And speaking of cash, you can save yourself a little by signing up before January 31, so get in gear. Please see the Website at www.middleburymaplerun.com for details on registration, prizes, pre-race reception (new this year), lodging, packet pickup, course information and map, records, FAQ, medals for all, T-shirts (registration by April 15), and so much more.
The Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon is one of those “must do” spring races in New England with a beautiful setting. The date is ideal, the organization and amenities top notch, the course is outstanding, and there is something for everyone in this rural Vermont tour. Running May 1, 2011, it has a 9:00 a.m. start time, and a two-person relay for those not ready for the full 13.14; the relay handoff is about mile 7 on this USATF-certified and sanctioned course.
This will be an outstanding race in a gorgeous place. Pre-race headquarters will be at the Middlebury Inn (http://www.middleburyinn.com/ ) on Court Square for registration, packet pick up, and an excellent, very enjoyable pre-race reception. The Middlebury Inn also has special rates for participants and a late checkout option; it has been welcoming guests since 1827, has “modern comfort and classic historic charm”.
Packet pick up, late registration, and the new pre-race cocktail reception will be held at the Middlebury Inn from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and registration/pick up will also be available on race morning (indoors this year) at the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association near the start beginning at 7:30 a.m. to 8:45. (Bag check will be available in the registration area.) Registration rates are very reasonable and include an affordable “student rate” that won’t increase. The earlier you register the more you save. Those registering by April 15 are guaranteed a free high quality T-shirt in requested size with unique race logo.
There is a lot to like about this event, including the maple-themed age group awards (ten-year increments) and outstanding post-race food and post-race party.
One of the highlights for me in running the Middlebury Maple Run was the extraordinary enthusiasm generated in running through the campus in the middle miles. The students were out in force and it was really energizing after a quiet rural tour north of town; and it is a lovely, post card type campus in a beautiful setting.
Middlebury College, founded in 1800, is the halfway mark of the race, and the relay hand off point is on campus, adding to the excitement in that section. Middlebury College is one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the USA, and is now one of the town’s great resources and “industries”. Middlebury has a beautiful campus nestled in the middle of town. It offers 850 courses in 44 different majors. Middlebury competes with 31 NCAA athletic teams; and those teams have produced 29 national championships since 1995.
As with the lovely drive into Middlebury and the area, nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, this course is beautiful, just terrific, and very rewarding in itself! The Porter Medical Center is on the south edge of the village, so the first section starts heading north through town, heading toward the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge over Otter Creek, an experience in itself. This makes the course very spectator-friendly, as runners return through town via the college campus only a few blocks from the early miles and at half way; it passes directly in front of the Porter Medical Center and start-finish area at mile 8. The northern loop winds through quiet farm-bordered roads, with fields and pastures and beautiful views of the mountains as you stride along on several miles of unpaved roads.
The starting line is adjacent to the Porter Medical Center (new traffic control process, parking nearby). At the gun runners will head north on South Street to Main Street and cross Otter Creek at Mile One with Otter Falls to the left. Just northeast of the bridge the course goes left or north on Maple Street to Seymour Street where runners will cross Otter Creek again through the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge into Weybridge with the two-mile mark just beyond the bridge.
After crossing the bridge the course bends north on Morgan Horse Farm Road on a beautiful loop that turns west on Hamilton just before mile four. The loop then heads south or left on Sheep Farm Road back toward Middlebury, via Weybridge Street and Old Chapel with Middlebury College at mile seven.
The course runs through the campus, rejoins South Street and heads south of town on a lovely out-and-back section on South Street Extension, with the turnaround at 10.5 miles at Morse Road. This unpaved section is quiet and peaceful, with enough roll to be invigorating. Note, the out-back extension will be closed to traffic this year, except emergencies and local residents.
The course is half on paved roads and half on rural hard packed dirt roads. About four miles of the course run through town and the other nine run on mostly unpaved roads on the northern loop and southern out and back. This intriguing route runs past the famous University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm, a National Historic Site. The farm is at 3.3 miles, but the course runs along and between its lovely pastures for miles. Much of the course is flat with just enough rolling hills and a few long grades to provide gorgeous views of the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. Hills are small and climbs short, with scenic views throughout.
The last few miles run north back to the medical center and the triumphant finish. Then it will be time to party. The post race party will be really special, with large quantities of food and beverages; and live music! Friends and family may attend with additional tickets—see the race website.
Now in its third year, this is one race that you must do. It continues to grow and is well planned and enjoyable in every aspect. The organizers are runners, and of course they know what runners want on race day. Running in such a beautiful location, it will be a spring highlight for many experienced runners, and a first ever challenge for others. The two-person relay adds an interesting dimension and opportunities for many more to participate. This one is for everyone from the swiftest to the back-of-the-pack runners; it is the same beautiful course for all. Think spring, and sign up now. Be a part of the second annual Middlebury Maple Run. Make it a memorable weekend visit to Middlebury and surrounding towns.
Middlebury and Addison County--Pure Vermont
Middlebury is the county seat of Addison County, located in the lower Champlain Valley of Vermont. It is midway between Burlington and Rutland. Middlebury is a small mill town with a rich history and distinctive character, including Otter Falls, which is on the course at mile one. The creek bisects Middlebury, where the water drove the early mills of the village.
This region became a rich source of farm products and manufacturing using water power from the falls. The village grew up around the early mills. That character is still distinctively visible. The famous Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont is in Middlebury and is well worth a look. You can choose from a variety of recreational activities, arts, historical sites, entertainment, and shopping, lodging and dining choices.
Addison County offers something for everyone—every season of the year; and is especially vibrant and alive in the spring sugaring season with pleasant breezes off Lake Champlain. The “Sweetest Half” runs at the end of the maple syrup season.
The region holds quaint villages and thriving towns. There are many working farms, including dairy and horse farms. It is picturesque and welcoming, and an outstanding place to run.
Just Run and Savor the Experience
This race shows the best of Vermont in maple sugaring season, so don’t miss the third annual sweetest half--a great rural course, historic location, friendly, welcoming community, two-person relay, and terrific organization. Addison County is beautiful in the spring. The gorgeous farms and covered bridge are wonderful too! Run this half marathon along Otter Creek and the Champlain Valley, beginning and ending in historic Middlebury. The course is beautiful, much of it on rural roads—very rural indeed. You will love running this course at this wonderful time of year.
Check the Website for additional information on directions, lodging, registration, awards, course map, results and photos, and more at www.middleburymaplerun.com You may send inquiries directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-388-7951 ext. 2.