Good for More than Just Syrup: Middlebury Maple Run 2019

By DANNY GRUBBS-DONAVAN

BENJY RENTON
Middlebury Maple Runners race towards a sweet finish.

Hundreds of hopeful half-marathoners took off from the starting line at Porter Hospital to run in the Middlebury Maple Run on Sunday, May 5. The race began at 9 a.m., and runners could look forward to a scenic yet hilly trail crisscrossing Middlebury and featuring views of the Green and Adirondack Mountains. Temperatures hovered in the mid-to-high sixties, and no clouds marred the blue sky. A festive air hung over the entire event as supporters and racers alike enjoyed the warm spring day.

Runners had three options for participating in the Maple Run. They could choose between  the full half marathon, a relay half marathon (in which teams of two complete the race in two legs) or a 3-mile fun run. This year, 308 runners elected to participate in the full half, another 66 runners ran the race in two-person relay teams and 133 runners completed the 3-mile fun run. Runners of a variety of backgrounds and ages gathered to race. According to the Maple Run press release, nearly 40 percent of the runners in the field traveled from other states to participate, and the race featured finishers as young as 13 and as old as 79.

BENJY RENTON
Will I Emma Ple Run’ relay team trades off wristbands at the six-mile mark.

Many Middlebury College students also chose to spend their Sunday mornings running. William Kelley ’21 and Emma Brown ’21 made up the second place finishing half-marathon relay team, “Will I Emma ple Run Team.” Though the name may seem like a typo, it is actually a pun that subtly weaves the two runners’ names into the phrase Maple Run. The duo — silly name and all — embodied the casual and joyful spirit of Sunday’s competition.  

Kelley reported having a great time at the race. “All of the runners were super supportive and there was a lot of energy all along the course. Every time I got over a tough hill, there were people pushing me on at the top, which almost made me look forward to the next one,” he said. 

Brown agreed, and she plans to push herself even further in coming years, saying “the full half marathon is definitely now on my bucket list of things to do while at Middlebury.” 

The registration fee for the full half was $45 for students and $65 for non-students. Around 50 of the Middlebury students running the race, including Brown and Kelley, had their registration fee partially covered by Middruns, the college running club. Leila Markosian ’21, who is the treasurer of Middruns and also ran the half marathon, said that this was the highest number of race entries that the club has ever sponsored. 

“Middruns aims to make running as accessible as possible for everyone,” she explained. “It’s important for Middruns to sponsor student entrance fees since that cost may be the thing preventing someone from participating in the Maple Run.” 

The Maple Run organization uses the proceeds from the race to support a number of causes. This year, the money was distributed between six Addison County area nonprofits including WomenSafe, Addison County Home Health and Hospice and Habitat for Humanity. Since the Maple Run was first held in 2009, the race has generated over $65,000 for local nonprofits like these organizations.

BENJY RENTON
Maple Runners diligently follow the 2:15 pacer.

The Maple Run organizers also provided extensive support to the runners. Many aid stations dotted the race courses, and runners were greeted at the finish line by a pancake breakfast and a convivial atmosphere on the lawn outside of Porter Hospital. Finished runners and their friends and families enjoyed pancakes and the beautiful weather as race organizers jubilantly announced the name of each new runner to approach the finish line. Many exhausted runners lounged on the grass, while others cradled bouquets of flowers brought by supporters. There was an air of triumph about the scene as the runners, having completed their collective challenge, milled about chatting with friends and basking in the sun.

In addition to the satisfaction of completing the race, there was also a bevy of prizes available to top finishers. All runners to cross the finish line received a finisher’s medal, but the fastest three male and female runners were awarded $25, $50 and $75 respectively. In addition, the top male and female finishers in each age category were awarded a bottle of Vermont-made maple syrup. 

Middlebury College students featured heavily among the top finishers in the race. On the men’s side, Morgan Perlman ’19, Lewis Nottonson ’19 and Ben Arquit ’20 came in first, second and third place respectively. Perlman completed the 13.1 miles in a time of 1:18.40, which comes out to a pace of six minutes per mile. The top finishers for women in order were Kimberly Lord of South Hero, Vermont, Catherine Marshall ’21 and Jennifer Moltz of Hyde Park, Vermont. Lord finished the race in a time of 1:30.28, placing 11th overall and clocking in at a pace of just under seven minutes per mile. 

BENJY RENTON
All smiles at the Maple run finish line.

High spirits abounded throughout the entire event. Combined with the timely arrival of lovely spring weather, this made for a highly successful edition of the Middlebury Maple Run. The tradition is a force for good in the community, bringing local residents and college students alike out to compete, drawing visitors to the area and contributing money to local charities. Looking back on this year’s event, one can only hope that the Maple Run continues to host successful races like this one for years to come.

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