- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
- Event Website
The 6th Annual Mad Marathon (or the Mad Half, which is what I ran), was held on Sunday, July 10, 2016. This race is truly a wonderful experience. The weather was in the mid-50s to low-60s, overcast (loved) with 95% humidity, and some sprinkles early on in the race, and depending on how long you were out there, some downpours too. At mile 12 we hit the downpour, but I was so sweaty anyway, it actually felt really good to run in it (another thing to stand around listening to awards and grabbing our beer post-race in wet clothes... a little chilly). These are my opinions of Pros, Cons, and Other from the race. 7am race start for half, full, and relay.
+ Registration was pretty straight forward, and they have almost of all the information you would need for the race online.
+ It was strange coming from big city running to a smaller race community - I was anxious about parking, what time to get there in order to find parking, but when I asked at packet pickup, they looked at me like I was crazy (I might have wondered aloud if they would have someone directing traffic to open spots). I put this in the Pros because it was so laid back, and you could just about park anywhere except for on grass. At home, we are so worried about parking and getting a ticket or towed - you really need to watch for any signage regarding permits, store parking only, etc. Smaller towns aren't like that and it was refreshing.
+ Packet pickup was also so laid back. They had a board up with half marathon names alphabetical on one side and marathon names on the other so you can find your bib number, then go to the proper number side (half or full), go in your number line, and tell them your name. They then gave you you bib, you can grab safety pins, a race booklet with information, and a blue drawstring backpack with white Mad Marathon logo on it.
+ For shirts, you just went and grabbed your size. The size I had requested fit well, so I grabbed that. Loved that the women's were a minty green and men's a forest green. They had last year shirts for sale for $5, so I grabbed one (I wear race shirts to train in, and at $5 (and it was blue) I had to get it, right?).
+ I wouldn't really call it an expo at all, there were only 2 companies with tents there, but I give it 5 stars because on Saturday when we went, there was also a Farmer's Market in the green across the street (where the race finish line is on Sunday, and why the race can't be held on Saturday). There were vendors with honey, maple syrup, cheese, etc. It was great to wander around and pick up a few things. Packet pickup was held on Friday 4–7pm, Saturday 9am–6pm, and on race morning (5:30–6:30am).
+ They schedule something fun the entire weekend. Friday there was a band that played, Saturday you could enjoy the farmers market, a bunch of restaurants and B&Bs in the area were hosting MAD CARBO pasta dinners on Saturday night, and there was supposed to be music Saturday night along with a kids race but due to weather those were cancelled. I believe there was ice cream Saturday night too, but we just stayed in so I can't be sure.
+ Race morning is very laid back. They have portapotties set up, one line for all bathrooms (maybe 10?). The DJ was calming and not in your face, the National Anthem was sung, and we were off. No corrals or waves, but with having a smaller race and running on the streets, after the first .5 mile crowding wasn't an issue at all.
+ The scenery is just gorgeous. Be prepared for hills - my watch for the half said elevation gain of about 1200 feet. Coming from mostly flatlands, this could have been a rude awakening, but lucky for me I had heard it was tough beforehand and imagined the worst, so it wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated (coming from the girl who thought the race with 300 feet elevation gain was tough... because I didn't know about any hills prior! haha).
+ There are some out and backs, which is a great chance to cheer on other runners. A lot of the people staying at our B&B were also racing, so it was fun to look out for them and cheer, as well as some friends that were out there from Chicago.
+ Volunteers were great. Plenty of aid stations (though I'm not sure how many for the half... the race booklet had the marathon course and where aid stations were on that, but I couldn't figure out the half course and where the aid stations were... and with runner brain I lost count during the race). Aid stations had both water and Gatorade and a portapotty.
+ Around mile 11 for the half and 25 for the full, there was a sign for aid stations - - water on the left and beer on the right. We had to stop for some beer! It was 14th Star Brewing Co. wheat ale (I don't know the name exactly), and two dudes were giving out pretty full cups. Only stipulation was you had to remain in the sectioned off area until finishing. I had a few sips, gave it to my husband to finish and told him to catch up with me (which is no problem for him).
+ There were cyclists for the front-runners of all the different relays along with the front runner of the half and the full.
+ Some of the community came out to cheer, which was so cute (lots of kids). I got a lot of compliments on my skirt :)
+ The RD is a wonderful woman - she cheers for all finishers and makes sure she hugs every single one. Who else does that?! I've never heard of such a thing until this race.
+ Post-race goodies included medal (different colored ribbons for half (orange) and full (maroon)), cups of water, cups of cider, cider doughnuts, potato chips, orange slices, banana slices, variety of bagel flavors.
+ They had a blow up pool for runners to stick their feet in filled with rubber duckies - fun and cute idea, especially if it's a super hot day.
+ DJ at the finish line announcing finishers.
+ Heat sheets to help keep you warm - it was chilly hanging around in the rain and wet clothes.
+ Across the street by Waitsfield B&B where packet pickup was they had the beer tent. You could get a can of 14th Star Valor with your race bib, or they had 3 other options for $5. Also pretzels, chips, and salsa.
- Honeslty - no cons! Great race. A few notes in the Other section that I don't consider cons, just indifferent type of info.
+ Course was clearly marked and was easy to know which was to go if you were full or half. Plenty of signage, cones, and course marshals to help point you in the correct direction.
• There were approximately 350 marathon runners, 400 half marathoners, 4 teams in the 3-person relays, 15 teams in the 5-person relay, 11 walkers for the half marathon, and 16 teams in the relay half marathon relay. So the race was under 1,000 participants total. Small from what I'm used to, but I really liked that.
• Again, coming from big city races where I had just completed a 5k with 6,000 people, I felt like a fish out of water, looking for the smallest of details so I could prepare and not be anxious of the unknown (like parking) or how many aid stations for the half (I carried my own anyway, so then it didn't matter... but might not have brought it if I knew how many to expect), I can't think of any other cons. I was able to learn more about parking from the packet pickup volunteers as well as in the race booklet, so that was cool. Back home we are used to receiving race-week emails with info like what you need for packet pickup (oftentimes a print out or you have to look up your bib ahead of time), and getting details about parking and costs. A race like this doesn't need to send out this info, because it's easy peasy, I just didn't know it until arriving haha.
• Mile markers at every mile, and would say 'Mad Half' or 'Mad Marathon' depending what mile it was marking.
I don't think there are any cons to this race. All of the runners are friendly and encouraging, it was well organized, laid back atmosphere, great swag and post-race treats. I'd really love to go back again next year, and maybe even conquer the elevation of the marathon (can someone tell me what the elevation gain for that one is?!)! It would be a fun challenge. I had an amazing time, being relaxed and taking tons of photos. I was actually even able to eat a bagel pre-race, which is something I have trouble doing usually (eating). Also, such great food and beer in Vermont... I need to come back to experience more! I'm sure I'm missing some details, but I'll add in if I think of more awesomeness :)
Definitely do this race if you have the chance! For those looking to do 50 half or full marathons in 50 states, choose this one! I had some friends that also ran a race in Portland, Maine the day before (made all the easier by being able to pick up their bibs on race morning for the Mad Half), so if it's the same weekend again, you can knock two off in one weekend! And you know I'm happy when good craft beer is involved with a race - especially if it's local to the area.