Maple Run Brings Together College and Town


Over the past weekend, Middlebury students and townspeople alike laced up their sneakers to join in the Middlebury Maple Run. This half marathon and relay run, which took place on Sunday, May 6, is nicknamed “The Sweetest Half” for the pancakes and fresh maple syrup that finishers enjoy at the finish line.

This year, the race celebrated its 10th anniversary since the race’s conception in 2009 by a group of running enthusiasts. In its first race, the event supported a field of 225 runners, which has since grown to about 850 in 2017 and a field of 840 runners this year.

Since the event’s conception, several new components have been added, including the option for a two person relay race or a three-mile fun run. These options help to generate a more family friendly atmosphere and have created the opportunity for almost 100 local elementary students to register for the fun run this year. All three races used the same start and finish line at Porter Hospital with the estimated 550 half marathon and relay runners beginning at 9 a.m. and the estimated 250 fun run runners starting at 9:15 a.m.

The finish line pancake breakfast was added in 2015 along with music played by student musicians of the college on the course route. The race has also begun to award a beautiful wooden medal for all finishers and provide maple run t-shirts upon entry. The Middlebury College bookstore even offered a discount of 20% off of one item for students who brought their race bib to the bookstore on Monday, May 7, the day after the race.

Sue Hoxie, the race co-director, told the Addison County Independent that they’ve “always tried to add something new or different every year of the race to make it interesting and keep runners coming back. But, what has remained the same over the years are the friendly volunteers, a beautiful, scenic race course, and a desire to support the local economy and Addison County nonprofit organizations.” She explained that the race has become a draw for many runners in New England and “an annual tradition for many who live locally.“

This year the event has implemented two new programs to help runners reach their goals: a free 16-week training program as well as race pacing for goal finish times of 1 hour 40 minutes, 1:50, 2:00, 2:15 and 2:30.

The race is supported by the Middlebury Police, the Middlebury Regional EMS, which includes a number of students, and more than 100 volunteers with aid stations every 2.5 miles. “I picked to work the event outside of my normal schedule, as did all the other MREMS staff present at the event. I thought it would be a fun way to engage with the greater Middlebury community and also gain some valuable experience working as an EMT,” said Liam Hahn, a student member of the Regional EMS. “The race went extremely well and we were lucky to only have a few minor bumps and bruises. It was fun to watch all the amazing runners, especially many of my friends, classmates, and even one of my professors run such a difficult race.”

The half-marathon course is a mix of paved roads and hard-packed dirt roads with several elevation changes, including some longer hills but nothing extraordinarily steep with the biggest uphill in the first half. The 3-mile fun run includes a loop mostly on the Middlebury Campus grounds, which is a subset of the larger half-marathon course. Jack Allnutt placed first in the 0-19 age category and said, “It was a tough hilly course but the weather was perfect and it was pretty fun.”

Mistaya Smith also ran the half marathon and said that “it was a really great community event because so many students came out to run, but also faculty members and Middlebury families. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, even if you’ve never run that far before, because it’s a ton of fun and you can’t ask for a more beautiful place to run!”

The race acts as a fundraiser for local charities and since the event’s inception in 2009, the Middlebury Maple Run “has donated more than $60,000 to area non-profits” according to the Addison County Independent. Proceeds are now distributed through a grant program with six non-profits receiving funding this year, including Dinners with Love, Hospice Volunteer Services, Middlebury Summer Lunch Program, Open Door Clinic, Special Olympics and the TurningPoint Center of Addison County.