The Stowe 8 Miler is Back, and is as Great as Ever!
Running Sunday, July 20, 2008, 9:00 a.m. in beautiful Stowe, Vermont, it will have the same great course and that unique charm that has made it a New England favorite since 1981.
Posted Monday, 28 April, 2008
After a one year hiatus, the Stowe 8 Miler is back under the direction of Mike St. Laurent, founder of LOCO Sports. With the assistance of Stowe residents Tom Foltz and John Elkins, the race’s directors from 2000-2006, Mike and the Loco Team will return the event to New England’s calendar of premier road races. The Stowe 8 Miler has been in existence since 1981 and is USATF-certified.
Described by New England Runner as “a rustic charmer of an event” and named its New England Road Race of the Year in 2001, the Stowe 8 Miler has fielded Olympic runners mixed with local stars, and for six years was a jewel in the New England Grand Prix series.
What makes this event so special? The course is quintessential Vermont. Running one 8-mile loop around the town of Stowe, you are surrounded by Vermont’s green hills in the valley below the State’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield and the infamous Trapp Valley Lodge. You will run paved and dirt roads, some hills, pass a wooden covered walk bridge, and run along the babbling West Branch of the Little River. Highlights include the village of Moscow, home of the world’s shortest July 4 parade, and sites like the Vermont Ski Museum and postcard church steeples against the summer sky. Historically the weather has been warm and sunny, perfect for a summer event followed by a grand party in a magical vacation venue. Anyone traveling a distance can make this a long weekend and enjoy a myriad of activities throughout Central Vermont: athletic, educational and cultural. This is a true destination race and place. The weekend in Stowe also hosts golfing, live entertainment, the Helen Day Art Center and much more. Come a week early and enjoy Stowe’s Hot Air Balloon Festival or stay on for the Taste of Stowe Arts Festival the following weekend featuring 150 local artists.
A history of top shelf directors. Famed local runner Jim Miller founded the race in 1981. He then turned it over to Stowe realtor Lee Labier and Burlington resident Larry Kimball, who co-directed it for 18 years until handing it over to Tom Foltz and John Elkins in 2000. The main sponsor for all those years was Concept II. All five men came from a solid running background, with competitive performances to their credit and strong connections to the running communities in Vermont and Massachusetts. Lee and Larry had a pipeline to the great runners at Providence College. Their objective was to stage a competitive race for the elite, and a course on which recreational runners could also test their mettle. And they wanted to throw a great party for the locals, a party which the “city folk” would want to return to in the open fields and mountains of Vermont. Their credo of making “A Race for Runners by Runners” will be dove tailed under Mike St. Laurent and Loco Sports whose motto is “shoes for runners by runners.” Mike, a runner himself since 1969, has a personal marathon record of 2:35:45. He runs his company while coaching high school runners and directing numerous events ranging from the 5K distance to the half marathon. Years ago Mike ran a running camp near Mt. Elmore, just east of Stowe, and knows the area well. His love of Vermont is sure to shine through.
What’s new? “If it ain’t broke - don’t fix it,” says Mike. The Stowe 8 Miler will use the same wonderful course, the same race weekend, great volunteers and fun food afterwards, including the traditional free beer and ice cream. The event will continue to offer prize money and build up its team competition. Mike will be adding technical shirts for the runners and more Vermont sponsors. He hopes to return the event to the New England Grand Prix series in 2009. He will continue to solicit elite runners to enhance the competition and name recognition of the event, as well as to increase the excitement for the runners and spectators. This race was won by Olympic gold medalist John Treacy in 1986 in 38:36. Many other Olympians have run, including bronze medalist Charlie Spedding, Bob Kempainen, Chrissie Pfitzinger and Irena Bogacheva. Andy Palmer, a top American at the time, won the first two Stowe 8 Milers, and local favorite Eric Morse placed second a half dozen times, finally winning overall in 1991 and again in 1998. Vermont native Judy St. Hilaire still holds the women’s course record of 44:39 set by her in 1982. The men’s record is 38:00 flat set in 1994 by John Kipgone of Kenya. Olympic Marathon Trials participant Nate Jenkins called the Stowe 8 Miler his favorite race when he was named Runner of the Year in 2007 by New England Runner. The Stowe 8 Miler has been a race of surprise finishes, with dramatic changes in the lead at strategic spots along the course as well as crowd pleaser finishes in the final stretch.
Awards go three deep overall and in age divisions with cash to individual and team winners. The top age-graded male and female performances are honored with the Andy Palmer Award. Prize money is offered in several individual and team categories.
Amenities include four water stops on the course, free parking, and showers or a cooling misting tent, beer and ice cream, plus the famous Stowe 8 Mile parties after the race. In addition there are many other activities to take in around Stowe Village including an array of diverse and wonderful restaurants. The City of Burlington and Lake Champlain are just 30 minutes northwest and access to the Green Mountains and numerous Vermont water bodies are at your doorstep. Lodging is available near the start/finish and along the course. Stowe Village is just 20 minutes off the interstate, a scenic drive east on Vermont’s Route 100 past the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and many other shops selling genuine Vermont products.
Check early registration and get information today at www.locorunning.com/stowe8miler.php.