The Third Annual Middlebury Maple Run—The Sweetest Half

It is serene, relaxing and simply a wonderful event in beautiful Vermont. This is a terrific run through a vibrant college town, the Green Mountains as backdrop, with beautiful and historic farmland and the quintessential covered bridge. Much of it passes by horse farms and pastures. It has an open country rural loop to the north of town, a terrific roll through an unbelievably enthusiastic Middlebury College campus, and a wonderful packed dirt and gravel out-and-back to the south. The start and finish venue, Porter Medical Center, is ideal and traffic free.

This is Vermont at its best, with budding spring exploding throughout. The race organizers—Co-Directors Sue Hoxie of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Andrea Soloman of Middlebury College--are pulling out all the stops to make this another terrific and memorable event, and even making some improvements over the first two years, though they went off without a hitch.

This year there will be cash prizes for top finishers: Individual open, individual masters, and teams. And speaking of cash, you can save yourself a little by signing up before January 31, so get in gear. Please see the Website at www.middleburymaplerun.com for details on registration, prizes, pre-race reception (new this year), lodging, packet pickup, course information and map, records, FAQ, medals for all, T-shirts (registration by April 15), and so much more.

The Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon is one of those "must do" spring races in New England with a beautiful setting. The date is ideal, the organization and amenities top notch, the course is outstanding, and there is something for everyone in this rural Vermont tour. Running May 1, 2011, it has a 9:00 a.m. start time, and a two-person relay for those not ready for the full 13.14; the relay handoff is about mile 7 on this USATF-certified and sanctioned course.

This will be an outstanding race in a gorgeous place. Pre-race headquarters will be at the Middlebury Inn (http://www.middleburyinn.com/ ) on Court Square for registration, packet pick up, and an excellent, very enjoyable pre-race reception. The Middlebury Inn also has special rates for participants and a late checkout option; it has been welcoming guests since 1827, has "modern comfort and classic historic charm".

Packet pick up, late registration, and the new pre-race cocktail reception will be held at the Middlebury Inn from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and registration/pick up will also be available on race morning (indoors this year) at the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association near the start beginning at 7:30 a.m. to 8:45. (Bag check will be available in the registration area.) Registration rates are very reasonable and include an affordable "student rate" that won't increase. The earlier you register the more you save. Those registering by April 15 are guaranteed a free high quality T-shirt in requested size with unique race logo.

There is a lot to like about this event, including the maple-themed age group awards (ten-year increments) and outstanding post-race food and post-race party.

Middlebury College
One of the highlights for me in running the Middlebury Maple Run was the extraordinary enthusiasm generated in running through the campus in the middle miles. The students were out in force and it was really energizing after a quiet rural tour north of town; and it is a lovely, post card type campus in a beautiful setting.

Middlebury College, founded in 1800, is the halfway mark of the race, and the relay hand off point is on campus, adding to the excitement in that section. Middlebury College is one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the USA, and is now one of the town's great resources and "industries". Middlebury has a beautiful campus nestled in the middle of town. It offers 850 courses in 44 different majors. Middlebury competes with 31 NCAA athletic teams; and those teams have produced 29 national championships since 1995.

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