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home > community > the third annual mad marathon, half marathon and relay--a running adventure along vermont’s famous country roads

The Third Annual Mad Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay--a Running Adventure along Vermont’s Famous Country Roads
One of the most beautiful race courses anywhere, running in the heart of Vermont, shows the Green Mountain State at its best. Teammates and individuals gush about the events, an epic journey through the essence of beautiful Vermont with covered bridges, farms, mountains, and the Mad River. Along with the Mad Marathon, Mad Half and Relay, there is a new two-race challenge - check it out.

The Third Annual Mad Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay--a Running Adventure along Vermont’s Famous Country Roads

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Mad Marathon Website

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 18 June, 2013

If you have experienced it, you will want to return. Mark your calendar for July 7, 2013 and keep that training going. If you have not yet enjoyed it, this is the year. Now 1% for the Planet and the Mad Marathon have joined forces to host one of the most sustainable marathons ever.

Weather is usually ideal with summers comfortable in the forests and mountains of the Green Mountain State. This event presents—and defines—the beauty found in running a fantastic course. Anyone who has participated in this event during its first two years will tell you that it was one of the best experiences in running—the organization, the view, the support and the atmosphere. No matter where you are in your training there is an option for you, individually or with teammates.

Are you looking to boost your running, your training, and add adventure and change to your running routine? Are you looking for a mini get-away with friends or family? The race headquarters is at the Waitsfield Inn (built in 1825) in lovely Waitsfield, Vermont, on famous Route 100 with the Mad River running parallel to Main Street. The Mad River Valley presents a wonderful backdrop for the full marathon, the half marathon, the marathon relay (three-person or five-person), or the two-person half marathon relay, which is new this year.

Also new this year is the MadMiddDoubleHalf and relay or the MadMiddHalfFull. This is a two race challenge involving two terrific Vermont Races, run in conjunction with the Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon and Relay. But we have more on that below.

They have planned well for you. There will be packet pick up and registration on Friday, July 5th from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Waitsfield Inn on Main Street. This will also be available on Saturday, July 6th at the inn from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Packet pick up will be available on race day morning from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m.—the races begin at 7:00 a.m.

There are numerous awards in both individual races including the top three women and men overall, with five-year age groups 16 to 24, then fives through 75+, top three in each. Yes, that means there are 24 age divisions in each race, providing 72 awards in each event! And of course the combined races and relays provide opportunities for teams to win great prizes.

There will be a special one-of-a-kind race Expo in conjunction with the Waitsfield Farmers Market from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. And a huge favorite for the post race celebration is the Beer Garden at the nearby Waitsfield Inn. Many will take a refreshing dip at the famous Lareau Swimming Hole, only a short distance out of the village.

This event is a challenge—there are some hills along the course. But as one person put it—“those testers just keep me from getting bored, and the different ups and downs keep me from getting tired”. It is a challenge and a really enjoyable experience in a fantastic location. Join the celebration, and refresh, refill, relax.

And what a beautiful location it is—central Vermont’s valleys of the Green Mountains with scenic peaks and rivers, including the Mad River, farms and forests, dozens of mountain vistas, bridges, streams and lakes and farms that make up this wonderful region. This terrific “must do” event will be Sunday, July 7, beginning at 7:00 a.m. for all races.

If you are injured or just not up to running, or if your significant is running and you are waiting, simply get involved and volunteer. It will make you feel good and you will get a custom volunteer T-shirt to boot. There is another opportunity to get involved and really get your business or service name out there--sponsor a part of the event. Go to

The Mad Marathon
The course is truly extraordinary. It is one of the most beautiful regions in the Eastern USA and well worth a visit—a long visit. And it is an area that can be best enjoyed and appreciated on foot with all senses aroused. Of course this goes for the Mad Half as well, with rolling hills and pastures, quaint villages, historical homes and barns, covered bridges and farm animals. On some roads—Common Road, for example—runners will be almost nose to nose with many cows (we believe that Vermont cows are among the most friendly and tranquil in the world.)

This USATF-certified and sanctioned marathon course is well and fully described on the Race Website, including maps, so we won’t recreate that here. We can tell you it is course that you will not forget. Runners cross covered bridges four times, and there are some shady, hard packed dirt roads that go easy on the feet and legs, and the views of the Green Mountains are constant and breathtaking.

The course crosses the Village Covered Bridge about ¾ mile from the start, followed by a modified out and back to the north of Waitsfield where there is another covered bridge waiting. When runners return and cross the Village Bridge after returning from a loop to the south in the village of Warren, there will be one mile to go. Diona Fulton of Watertown, MA won the women’s race in 2012 (3:15:06), and Sebastian Ronlier of Sherbrooke, Quebec took the men’s crown with 2:49:37.

Marathon Relay runners will have different bibs, and there will be handoff points at 8.5, 12.5, 18.9, and 22.5 miles. The course is well defined and well marked with lots of support. You will want to take it all in. Some runners will be snapping photos as they run, with every turn and rise seemingly offering a post-card opportunity.

The Mad Half
This is the third year for both the Mad Marathon and Mad Half, and both share many of the scenes and vistas that make the Mad River Valley so spectacular. The half marathon has a slightly different route, although it begins with the marathon and also heads north for a loop with a turn-around at 4.5. This part of the route includes the Pine Brook Covered Bridge (there are four covered bridge crossings on the course). This is similar to the first half of the marathon with some variations, except that it turns back toward Waitsfield with a right off Common Road at 9.6, rather than the loop down into Warren.

There will be a (two-person) relay handoff (different bibs) at mile 5.8. The Mad Half Walking Division will also have different color bibs. Last year’s women’s champion was Megan Valentine of Jericho, VT with 1:35:54; while Mike Slowick of Boston, MA captured the men’s race in 1:25:55.

The Relays
If you are not up to the full marathon or even the 13.1 Mad Half, there are three other options in team relays. The relays and the full and half individual races all start together on the Mad River Green in the Village of Waitsfield; and the relays follow the same routes as the individual races.

The Five-Person Marathon Relay: This is a fun relay with shorter legs so just about anyone can be part of it. The first leg of 8.5 miles is challenging, but after that, even though there are some hilly spots, the legs are relatively short and enjoyably doable with 4.0, 6.4, 3.6, and 3.7 respectively.

The Three-Person Marathon Relay: This is a bit more of a challenge. The first leg is the same as the 5-person team at 8.5, followed by a strong 10.4 mile stretch. And the final leg is 7.3 miles. Please see the description of the marathon course above or in more detail on the race Website.

The Two-Person Half Marathon Relay: This one has two legs that are fairly equal in difficulty with distances of 5.8 and 7.3 miles respectively. This follows the regular half marathon course and is described in detail on the Website. This is also the second event for the MadMiddDoubleHalf Relay Challenge, combining times from the Middlebury Maple Run Relay—see below for details. And one more thing on the Mad Half Relay, there is a Walkers Division in the individual half marathon, so if you and a buddy want to walk the 8.5 and 10.4-mile relay legs, that’s okay too, although there will not be separate scoring.

This one is different! Get your team together now for this epic run. Excellent organization and flawless planning will provide you and your team with one terrific racing adventure. It will be classic event. Is your team ready?

MadMiddDoubleHalf and MadMiddHalfFull
New this year, an innovative combination of two races in Vermont, two months apart, combining total time in competition for special prizes unique to the region and a unique challenge—individually or as a two-person team. The Middlebury Maple Run is first on May 5, with the Mad Marathon and Mad Half set for July 7, 2013.

Individuals have two categories: The “MadMiddDoubleHalf” is proving to be the most popular so far. But those running the Mad Marathon, the full 26.2, also have their challenge, the “MadMiddHalfFull” which combines the times of the Middle Maple Run Half Marathon with the Mad Marathon.

Two person Relay teams can also get into the act on the “MadMiddDoubleHalf”, combining both Half Marathons. The only restriction is that they must be the same two team members. (The Marathon Relay is not part of the challenge. Here is the link to the Middlebury Maple Run—the Sweetest Half:

Competition in the “MadMiddDoubleHalf” will be for Individual Females, Individual Males, Relay Females, Relay Males, and Relay Mixed. For the MadMiddHalfFull it will be for individual women and men only. Either way, combined times for both races will be a terrific challenge and a significant accomplishment; a unique entry for your running log for sure. Both are beautiful and well designed and executed races, they just happen to be on different sides of the Green Mountain National Forest—Champlain Valley and Mad River Valley. Wow!

Waitsfield is a small town of 26.9 square miles in the County of Washington located in the Mad River Valley. It was founded in 1782 by General Benjamin Wait. The Capital City of Montpelier is in the same county. Waitsfield sits on the Mad River as well as famous Route 100, a north-south thoroughfare known for its scenic beauty. The primary ridge of the Green Mountains lies just west and includes two ski resorts that have made Waitsfield famous, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. The Northfield Range sits just east, enclosing the river valley.

Waitsfield has a rich history and an agrarian past and character, though it is now clearly a resort destination. The permanent population is just under 2,000, but of course it swells during the high seasons. There are many dining and lodging options, with a uniqueness, a quaintness that is refreshing. The renowned Long Trail and Catamount Trail are nearby if you wish to extend your stay. And there is a trail that follows the Mad River. Singer/musician Grace Potter and her band the Nocturnals hail from Waitsfield.

Come Run in the Mad River Valley on July 7
No matter which of the various options you choose—marathon, half marathon, five-person or three-person marathon relay, two-person half marathon relay, or half marathon walk, this will be one of the most memorable racing events you will enjoy. From the inn and villages to the covered bridges and round barn, to historical structures and scenic vistas, there will be plenty to take in before, during and after your race. And the beer will be cold at the finish line. Be a part of this remarkable Vermont experience! It’s a pleasant way to bag another state in your marathon quest.

The fees go up on April 30, so don’t delay. Commit and train, and we will see you in Waitsfield. You can reach them for information at 802-496-5393 or by e-mail at



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