Vermont’s Famous Maple Leaf Half Marathon and 5K—the Classic is Back
Yes the new Maple Leaf Half Marathon is back and as great as ever. Races will run at 8:30 am, Saturday, September 6, 2008, in beautiful Manchester, Vermont--a year-round sports and recreation destination in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest.
Posted Saturday, 2 August, 2008
The world class Maple Leaf Half Marathon of the 1970's and 1980's has returned. Founded in the mid-1970's by Guy Thomas and run sporadically over the last few years, the “new” Maple Leaf is presented by MVP Health Care in partnership with the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce. The event was revived in 2007 under the name “The Prudential Stratton Properties Maple Leaf Half Marathon and 5K, presented by MVP Health Care.” The course has changed to address current traffic and development patterns. But it remains a true gem of the Northeast, a race that has been lauded as one of the top half marathons in the country for its scenic beauty, organization and competitive field.
In 1979 Patti Catalano set a women’s world record half marathon time here of 1:14:03. Herb Lindsay did the same in 1981 with a 1:01:47. Other notable participants have included many Olympic and international greats such as Greg Meyer, Jon Sinclair, Frank Shorter, Rob DeCastella, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Vermont’s own Judy St. Hilaire, Alison Roe, Bart Yasso and Benji Durden. In its early years the Maple Leaf Half Marathon drew 1,300 athletes nationally. The half marathon was a favorite tune-up amongst competitive runners for the New York City Marathon. Combining the race’s history of competition with the cultural and aesthetic environs, and the great support for runners, assures you a wonderful race, whether you’re here for a personal record, a fun run, a fabulous weekend in Vermont, or the whole package.
Both the half marathon and 5K are loop courses. Race designer Joe Charbonneau (along with Jon French) offers that “the run will take you through true Vermont landscape. The course runs from a rural downtown community to picturesque village setting to country roads to hilly farm lands back to the finish. Our new race course is a great distraction to just ‘pounding the pavement.’” Added to the beauty of the setting is the fact that Vermont will be in the early stages of fall foliage at a time when meals and lodging are at off-season rates. The Manchester area is a mecca for sports including running, skiing, golf and equine activities. It is also known for fine dining, cultural events and discount name brand shopping. After the race, the Manchester skateboard park, swimming pool, slides and other recreation facilities will be open. The Chamber of Commerce is planning a music concert for runners and spectators near the finish line. All of the organizers and supporters are committed to returning this event to its prior prominence and to offer runners, families and friends a fabulous multi-faceted outdoors experience in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Consider spending some time in this beautiful locale either before or after the race. Manchester has Elm-lined streets and marble sidewalks and is nestled in the shadow of Mount Equinox, the highest mountain in the Taconic Range. There is a lot to see and do. For example, visit the Southern Vermont Art Center, the Frog Hollow State Craft Center, the Hildene Mansion, home of Robert Todd Lincoln, or for variety the American Museum of Fly Fishing. Take the Skyline Drive tour to the top of Equinox to view the valley below, the Green Mountains, and portions of New York, Quebec, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
In its 2007 comeback year, more than 200 runners toed the starting line for the half marathon and over 100 came to run the 5K. This year is expected to be significantly larger. Brian Debraccio of Scotia, New York in a time of 1:26:23, and Elizabeth Whiting of Sussex, Wisconsin in a time of 1:30:29, took first places in the half marathon. The 5K was won by Patrick Joy of Calais, Vermont in 19:37 and Pamela Mazur of New York City in 23:49. All of the 2007 records on the newly charted course are expected to be broken.
The course winds through Manchester Village and beautiful countryside past livestock, cornfields and barns. The total climb is 816 feet and the total elevation change is 1631 feet with significant hills at miles four, five and nine. The hill at nine miles is the high point on the course at over 1,000 feet but from there it’s all downhill to the finish line. Proceeds will benefit several area charities including the Manchester Lions Club, the Battenkill Valley Runners, Greater Northshire Public Access Televison, and Manchester Parks and Recreation. The event is affiliated with the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce and the Stratton Mountain Ski Area. For information on the area visit the Chamber of Commerce at 5046 Main Street, Suite 1, Manchester Center, Vermont 05255, phone 802-362-2100. Visit on the Web at http://www.manchesterchamber.net/ to make your plans.
Visit www.manchestervtmapleleaf.com today and sign up for the classic race! While there, view the course maps and photos of last year’s event.