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home > races/results > usa: vermont > fjg race to the top of vermont—your unique mountain challenge, climbing to the summit of mount mansfield

FJG Race to the Top of Vermont—Your Unique Mountain Challenge, Climbing to the Summit of Mount Mansfield
Yes, it is a different kind of challenge--running, biking or hiking to Vermont’s highest pinnacle. Spice up your running or mountain biking with a test you can’t refuse— a steady climb with phenomenal natural beauty and spectacular views, running on Sunday, August 28, 2011. Different and exciting--for all endurance enthusiasts!

FJG Race to the Top of Vermont—Your Unique Mountain Challenge, Climbing to the Summit of Mount Mansfield

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 19 August, 2011

This is a race up the east flank of Mount Mansfield on the famous and historic Toll Road. It is a combination event—runners, hikers/walkers, and mountain bikers. The Mount Mansfield Toll Road is 152 years old, and has changed little since it was blasted into the mountainside. There is a short paved stretch in the beginning (.3 mile), but most of it is hard packed gravel. The total elevation climb is 2,564 feet while speeding 4.3 miles, so it is a terrific challenge for all on an average grade of 11.3%.

The rewards include a tremendous sense of accomplishment and spectacular views of three states and the Province of Quebec as well as the jewel of the Green Mountain State, Lake Champlain. And you will enjoy some really good post race food and live music while relaxing on the grassy open spaces near the Midway Lodge. There are also unique custom prizes, cash prizes, and a wonderful raffle open to ALL participants—a total of $14,000 in prizes altogether.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall in both disciplines (including cash awards), with additional prizes for the top three in each age group, also both disciplines—beautiful custom stoneware mugs. And unique to this event, there will be prizes for the fastest three single discipline teams overall for both the corporate and open division (three-persons, including at least one woman), and they will also receive those mugs. Unusual for mountain races, there will be over $14,000 in awards and prizes, including that raffle for which ALL participants are eligible. Vermont’s own Darn Tough Socks will also be among the prizes.

Truly Unique
Part of the uniqueness is that this race invites all three of these disciplines to race at the same time, going off in waves—separating runners and bikers this year--with runners first, then non-competitive hikers/walkers (both at 9:00 a.m.), then bikes go off last at 10:00 a.m. It is interesting to note that the winning times—and record times—for running and biking are very close for both women and men. Also interesting to note, the Toll Road does not allow bicycles at any other time, and never permits motorcycles to use this road.

The bad news is that there are only 800 participants allowed because of the nature of the road and available space at the summit lot, so do not delay in registering for this one-of-a kind racing experience.

There are four ways to register: Online with, of course, but also by mail, fax or phone. You must register by August 15 to be guaranteed one of those excellent high quality tech shirts. Online Registration closes August 23, but his may well close out before then!

Registration (if available) and bib pickup will be at the Midway Lodge, near the Mount Mansfield Gondola, on Saturday, August 27th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and on race morning August 28th from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.

There will be a bag check for all so each participant will have warm, dry clothing at the summit. It has been mostly sunny, but you never know on Vermont’s highest peak.

History and Records
This will be the fourth annual Race to the Top of Vermont. The incomparable Dave Dunham, three-time winner and former record holder at the Mount Washington Road Race, set the running standard in 2008 with a 37:50, passing many of the bicycles in route. Andrew Gardinar of Wellesley, Massachusetts broke Dave’s record last year with a blistering 34:48.6, beating all disciplines to the top.

Kasie Enman holds the women’s record at 40:12.5 set in 2009. Enman, of Huntington, Vermont won several USATF Mountain Circuit races and won first place on the USA National Mountain Running Team at the Mount Cranmore Hill Climb; she will compete in the World Championships in Albania in September.

Bike records are held by Vermonters: 43:26.7 by Marilyn Ruseckas of Warren (2010), and 36:12.0 by Nathan Ringquist riding in his home town of Stowe (also 2010).

Participants will receive a high quality tech shirt, post race refreshments including a chicken BBQ post race party with live music at the Midway Lodge, Stowe Mountain Resort, and an excellent raffle. Music will be provided at the post race celebrations, and presented at the outdoor amphitheater in the meadow above the lodge.

The Course—the Auto Road
For 152 years this road has provided thousands and thousands of visitors spectacular views of Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Quebec; it is a true scenic wonder that includes views of the White Mountains, the Adirondacks, and many lakes large and small, including 110-mile long Lake Champlain, which sits on the border of Vermont and New York and stretches north into Quebec. It is a pleasure and a privilege to run or ride this remarkable road.

The course climbs at a steady incline from the Inn at the Mountains (5781 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT 05672) to the near-summit lot at 3,843 feet. The climb is 2,564 vertical feet with an average 11.3% grade. The climb begins at about 1,279 feet and goes to the summit station just below the true summit of Mount Mansfield (4,395). The town of Stowe on the east flank is a delightful tourist destination and sits at 968 feet. Stowe offers a wide range of recreational activities along with excellent restaurants and a unique variety of shopping opportunities. And this is a great time to visit the Stowe resort area, before the leaf-peeping tourists.

The Catamount Trail Association and Race Beneficiaries
This unique event is presented by the Catamount Trail Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and protecting the outstanding resource that is the Catamount Trail of Vermont. The association fosters winter trail use and is especially dedicated to cross-country skiing throughout the state of Vermont.

The title sponsor is Fleischer Jacobs Group (FJG) , one of New England's largest providers of Insurance, Employee Benefits, Investments and Financial Planning services for businesses and individuals.

The amazing Catamount Trail traverses the entire length of the state, passing through state and national forest and 36 separate towns. As with any such resource, the work of the CTA is never done, as development and changes require close cooperation with the many town governments, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and over 200 individual land owners. The CTA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, employs a full time Executive Director, Jim Fredericks, and two staff members. It includes, supports and involves hundreds of volunteers.

In addition to the Catamount Trail Association, race proceeds will benefit Mobius Mentoring Group, an organization dedicated to teaching and mentoring those in need. and Vermont Works for Women, an advocacy group offering support for women of all ages in all areas of life:

Mount Mansfield
The highest peak in the Green Mountains and in Vermont at 4,395, Mount Mansfield is famous for its appearance, looking much like a human face in repose, and for its unobstructed, spectacular views. It is located within three different towns, most famously Stowe, but also Cambridge and Underhill (ironically Underhill encompasses the actual pinnacle). It includes alpine tundra leftover from the last Ice Age. The Long Trail traverses the main ridgeline, and of course it is most famous for the outstanding winter resort and alpine as well as cross-country skiing.

The name Mansfield comes from a roundabout set of circumstances: The village of Mansfield was founded here (no longer in existence), and was named after the town of Mansfield in Connecticut. Settlers from New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut often named towns after the one they left. Mansfield, Connecticut was named for Moses Mansfield, one of the primary landowners of that town in Connecticut.

The Native American name for the mountain is translated roughly as “Mountain with a Head”. It includes spectacular cliffs on the north and northeast sides, as well as a series of mountain side caves.

Take This Challenge
By August 28 many runners and cyclists will be looking for a new and different challenge, and this is it! This is a race that includes all the same elements of other events: competitors, distance, and the clock. But this one adds something powerful—gravity. Overcoming it, answering the challenge, reaching the summit gives runners a real high in more than one way; and it is tremendously rewarding. It is not for everyone. It is likely for you, however. Sign up now for the fourth annual FJG Race to the Top of Vermont. I hope to see you there.



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