Middlebury Maple Run - The Sweetest Half.
Middlebury, VT - Several months ago, I was looking around on KickRunners when I saw a post for a new half marathon in Middlebury, VT in April. One of the KickRunners, Hanging Jury, was going to be one of the race organizers. I have always felt it is important to support first time races so they might be back for a second year. When I heard that a couple of other people from KickRunners might do the race, I decided I had to go ahead and run it.
Middlebury is quite a ways from my house, so I decided if I was going to do it, I would overnight in Vermont, and then run the race and then drive home. The race was on a Sunday, so on Saturday I got up and ran with my running club, then I went home and packed to go to the race. Saturday was a beautiful day and I own a convertible, so I drove up to Vermont with the roof down. I stopped several times to admire some of the New Hampshire/Vermont scenery, and got lost once or twice. In Vermont there was still some snow at some of the ski areas (like Killington) when I drove by. Eventually I got to Middlebury. My hotel was further north of Middlebury, but I wanted to stop and find the starting line, and possibly scope out the course. However, it was later than I was hoping for so I opted to just find the start. Once I did that, I drove on up to my hotel in Shelburne.
Sunday morning arrived and it was cloudy, rainy, and windy. I wasn't expecting that when I got up early on Sunday. A friend from KickRunners, Xena, was driving down to the race and was going right by my hotel on the way, so we met at my hotel and drove down to the race together. We were thinking it was going to be a nasty day.
We got to the starting line early. While waiting for the start we met up with Hanging Jury to just say hi. I would have loved to chat more, but we were both freezing, so we went and got in my car to wait for the start. Fortunately, before the start, the rain stopped.
This race was really not a race, for either of us. I am still trying to come back from injury, and I am not sure how the ankle would respond to racing a half marathon. Xena had been ill earlier this week, so we both decided to run this race easy and just enjoy the course and chat.
The first mile seemed to fly by. I know it was a full mile, but it seemed to fly by. We ran through downtown Middlebury during mile 1. The roads were not closed to traffic but there wasn't a lot of traffic to speak of. Before long we shifted onto a back road. The roads weren't closed but there next to no traffic at all.
There was a lot of ups and downs in this course, and miles 2, 3 and 4 seemed to do quite a bit of climbing. These miles were tough also because they were run into a very strong headwind. At the first waterstop at mile 3, we stopped to enjoy the water.
Most of mile 5 and part of mile 6 was on a very flat dirt road. There were some nice on that road.
When we hit the mile 6 marker, everything was feeling good. Shortly after the 10K marker, we came to the second water stop. I asked we stop there so I could get a Gu and a Succeed S!Cap. After taking those, we continued on. We turned onto the campus of Middlebury College. Middlebury College is an absolutely gorgeous campus, and it was great to run through there. One group of students pointed us in the right direction by putting a cone on one of their heads and the other two picked him up and pointed his head in the direction we were supposed to go.
Coming off of the campus we were back near the start. Hanging Jury snapped a picture of us as we passed the start on our way to an out-and-back portion on a dirt road. We climbed a small hill then went down a long hill. We passed through the third water stop just after mile 9. There were some beautiful horses next to the course at this point. We continued on to the turnaround of the out-and-back and then started back to the finish.
Once we turned around, the wind was in our face again, and holy cow was that tough. We got back to the water stop and grabbed another cup of water. I actually stopped for a minute to pet one of the horses.
During mile 12, we got back to the long hill we came down during the out-and-back. Straight into the wind climbing it. At one point I shouted something to my friend and she had a hard time hearing it over the wind.
Finally, we got over the hill, and were happy to be coasting downhill, and we were both happy to be done with the hills.
We turned to the finish and they announced both of our names.
We didn't want to mill around too long. The wind was really chilling both of us. So we opted to change and then went out to lunch.
By my Garmin I had 2:22:20. Not sure how that is for a finish, I haven't seen the finishing order, or the official time.
This course was great! Hanging Jury if you guys have this race next year, I'll be back.
The weather could have been better.
The company, could not have been any better.