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home > races/results > usa: vermont > the 20th annual keybank vermont city marathon and marathon relay—just awesome

The 20th Annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Marathon Relay—Just Awesome
Enjoy a four-day weekend in Beautiful Burlington, Vermont; coming May 25th, Memorial Day weekend; the Marathon and Marathon Relay run along gorgeous Lake Champlain. You will fall in love with this lakeside college town, Vermont’s largest city.

The 20th Annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Marathon Relay—Just Awesome

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 31 March, 2008

Flash—You Can Still Get In the Marathon

Believe it, folks, this will be the twentieth annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in wonderful Burlington, Vermont, and you can get IN. Yes, you can run this marathon if you act quickly! Believe it—there are several hundred bibs available for this northern New England classic, which has the reputation of selling out every year. True, the famous two-person and three-to-five person relay divisions are sold out; the lottery was held and all team slots were filled in February. But the marathon is OPEN!

What a way to spend a long holiday weekend! There is no need to rush right back to work on your typical weekend. Live the entire experience, and enjoy all that Burlington and surrounding region have to offer. Enjoy the pre-race pasta dinner, awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, the two day Fairpoint Communications Health and Fitness Expo, the Y.A.M. Kids’ run on Saturday, 9:15 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 1,700-plus volunteers will provide an unforgettable racing experience.

Why has this event grown so popular over its 20-year history? Simply put, it is done right. Months and months of planning, intricate attention to detail, engagement with and support from the community (Burlington as well as 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 overarching commitment to the running community and the sport.

There is something for everyone! The Fairpoint Communications Health 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, 870 Williston Road, 05403. This is race headquarters and race packet pick up will be available during Expo hours. There will be helpful seminars throughout the day on Saturday. There are, by the way, race-day shuttles from this hotel and some others (refer to the race Website). The highly regarded pasta dinner runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., followed by a pre-race awards ceremony and Hall Of Fame induction. Packet pickup is also available on race day at One Main Street (RunVermont headquarters) from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

Should the marathon sell out by April 30, RunVermont will implement its innovative Transfer Policy. They were among the first to implement such a policy because of heavy demand, and a desire to better serve the running community. Likewise, they have a deferral policy (after April 30); yes, it is a runner friendly race. Please check the Race Website for more information.

Detailed information is available at, 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).

This is a unique marathon course—very enjoyable. Three of the four relay handoffs are near Battery Park, an ideal situation for participants and onlookers; and Battery Park overlooks the lake. 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 on the far shore. There are several miles immediately along the lake, and the final 4.5 is on a flat rail-trail back to Waterfront Park. Over 25,000 spectators will join in for the post race festival—what a party!

There are five-year age groups and nearly $15,000 in prize money. Check out the race Website for details. 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.

Burlington, Vermont
And 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 and is still the headquarters 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 Lakefront 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 Certified Green Buildings.

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; and St. Michael’s College is in nearby Colchester, just across the Winooski River. Other points of interest include Shelburne Farms, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Magic Hat Brewing Company, 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, of course; 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.

It is approximately 107 miles long, varies in width from ½ mile to 14 miles, is about 600 feet deep, and covers 437 square miles. It has over 80 islands, a few very large, has highway crossings via bridges at the far northern and southern ends, 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, a youth running and training program, the Many Milers, as well as one of only two women’s running camps in the USA. Races include the First Run on January 1st, a 20-year tradition; the RunVermont Half Marathon Unplugged, a low key event running from Airport Park in Colchester to downtown Burlington by way of the beautiful bike path the first week in April; and the Basin Harbor 5K and ½-mile Kids’ Run in mid June. Your running “experience” is the result of their many years of experience—and dedication.

The Women’s Camp is held at the beautiful lakeshore Basin Harbor Club, and has very limited availability to keep the coaching ratio ideal. Running June 8 to 14, it will include an atmosphere of tremendous camaraderie—women coaching women in a wonderfully supportive atmosphere. Look for more information in this space soon on this invaluable opportunity for women of all ages and paces.

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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