Third Running of Middlebury’s Half Marathon and Relay Huge SuccessBy Sue Hoxie
Nearly 800 runners registered for the scenic race; $12,000 donated to local and national charities
Middlebury, Vermont – May 16, 2011 – The third running of the “Middlebury Maple Run – The Sweetest Half” took place on Sunday, May 1st. A total of 792 runners registered and with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s, 485 runners completed the full 13.1 mile distance and 76 two-person teams finished the relay*. Similar to 2010’s race, more than 40 percent of the participants traveled to Middlebury from outside of Vermont—mostly from neighboring New England states and New York, but a few from as far away as California, Washington and Colorado.
The race continues to grow steadily having had 225 registrants for 2009’s inaugural race; 569 registrants in 2010 and just under 800 registrants for this year’s event. The race organizers’ goal is to grow the field to 1,000 participants within the next year or two. The race also attracted many students, not just from Middlebury College, with its affordable registration fees. Nearly 167 students ran the half marathon, while 18 students participated in the team competition. Approximately 25% of this year’s registrants had run the race in one or both of the previous years.
“We surveyed the runners shortly after the race and asked them about what went well and what didn’t. Their responses are so overwhelmingly positive—remarking about the beautifully scenic course, the quality of the race’s organization, and friendliness of over 100 volunteers,” said Andrea Solomon, co-director for the 2012 race. “We made several tweaks to this year’s race to ensure runners’ safety and they all worked as we had planned. Going into our fourth year, we’ll continue to make adjustments so that the Middlebury Maple Run becomes one of New England’s most popular half-marathons and will keep runners coming back to the Middlebury area year after year.”
The course record in the women’s open division (39 and under) was broken. Tara Wommack, age 28, from Jamaica Plain, Mass., was the first female finisher (14th overall) in a time of 1:23.52, a 6:24 per mile pace. Records in the men’s open, men’s masters and women’s masters divisions stand unchanged from previous years.
This year’s race was also successful in terms of its proceeds and monies donated to several worthwhile charities. A total of $12,000 has been distributed among one national charity—the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and several Addison County-based charities—H.O.P.E., United Way of Addison County, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Girls on the Run, and Open Door Clinic. Three other organizations, the Middlebury Police Explorers, Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, and Addison Central Teens were recognized by the race for their support in making it a successful and safe event.
Race organizers have tentatively set a race date of Sunday, May 6, 2012 for next year’s race. The 2012 race course will change slightly in that Middlebury’s Pulp Mill Bridge is scheduled to be closed for restoration later this year. Organizers are seeking approval from the town of Middlebury to modify the course to avoid the bridge closure, while at the same time not inconvenience residents and travelers.
About the Middlebury Maple Run Organizers
The Middlebury Maple Run was started in 2009 by a group of local runners to raise funds for charity and to create an event that brought visitors to the Middlebury area during a time of year when there are fewer tourists. The Middlebury Maple Run Organizing Committee is made up of: Terry Aldrich; Benj Deppman, Deppman & Foley; Dave Donahue, Middlebury College; Sue Hoxie, Addison County Chamber of Commerce; Angelo Lynn, Addison Independent; and Andrea Solomon, Middlebury College.
*The difference between 792 registrants and 637 finishers are no-shows.