- 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race, Relay
- Road Race
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Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
This was my first time running the Vermont City Marathon, which is in Burlington, Vermont, and I was impressed. I could tell it was going to be a good race leading up to it, because everything seemed very well-organized. I also really like the city of Burlington.
There were Facebook Live videos each week and regular emails. The website had all the pertinent information, and I was added to a Facebook group called New2-26.2, through which a coach provided training plans. We also received training info from the coach via email. (I was provided with this for free through BibRave, but this is available with a deluxe registration for $10 additional - early rate - or $15 additional - later rates.)
The shirt was a basic short-sleeve tech shirt, but I thought the design was really cool. This year was the race's 30th anniversary, so that was a major theme in the design of the shirt and the medal. There was no extra physical swag for the regular runner (I received some extra items as a BibRave Pro), but there were perks like food and beer at the finish.
Aid stations were awesome. There were so many water stops that I lost count during the race (a full list of water stops is available on the race website at www.runvcm.org.) The volunteers were helpful and there were so many of them. The on-course fuel was UnTapped, a maple syrup fuel that I trained with after seeing it would be on course. The fuel was not with the water stops. There were also unofficial aid stations, including a Maple Syrup Shots station and at least two ice pop stations beyond the one listed.
I really liked the course. It goes out in a few different directions, continually returning to the center of the city. The first part is in the downtown area and includes the Church Street Marketplace (runners go through here twice during the race). Next is the Burlington Beltline, which is a highway with nice views. Runners then go back to a city environment before heading up toward the Burlington Greenway (bike path), with an energetic neighborhood on the way. There are views of Lake Champlain from the bike path and from a different neighborhood. Being from a very flat area, I thought it was a hilly course, although it seemed like people from hillier areas did not think it was that hilly. My watch logged 696 feet of elevation gain, with more elevation lost. The most daunting hill was on Battery Street, during Mile 16, but I noticed even the smaller hills. The next largest hill was leaving the Beltline area, around Mile 9.
This year's race, the 30th anniversary, had the added perk of having Meb Keflezighi there for the race. I got to meet Meb and get a photo with him at Waterfront Park the day before the race. I went to the expo later to get an autograph, and ended up getting another photo instead because the line was very long. However, plenty of people did get autographs. It was great that he was so accessible. Even though I finished too late for this, some people even got high-fives from Meb at the finish line. He ran with a relay team.
I picked up my bib and shirt easily on Friday evening, but since I got there right before the expo closed, I returned the next day. There was an opportunity to taste and purchase 14th Star Brewing Co. beer, which I did. UnTapped was also at the expo with samples, and I bought some maple leaf earrings from Danforth Pewter. It was a smaller expo, but it had everything I needed.
I was told by my host that if I left before 6 a.m. (the race starts at 7 a.m.), parking would not be hard to find. He was correct, and I was able to find a free parking spot not far from Waterfront Park. I can't speak to later parking, but I found parking easily. I saw that there were also shuttles from some hotels.
I enjoyed the contact via email and information ahead of the race. The course was also well-marked and easy to follow. There were plenty of portable toilets, lots of water stops and everything went on smoothly.
The finish line was awesome. I came in at 5:07:17, and there were crowds of people on both sides — I felt like a celebrity. I got post-race food and drink including water, a piece of pizza, chips, Ben & Jerry's (there were samples, but I bought a full-size cone). Runners also got a free beer. This year, there were different Vermont brewers' beers. The 14th Star beer ran out before I got to the tent, but I got a Zero Gravity beer that I liked.
There were also tons of drummers on the course, from the Taiko Drummers on the Battery Street hill and drummers on the Beltline to people drumming on trash cans and bins. There was great community support for this race, which is definitely appreciated! Everyone was also very friendly.
Check out my full race recap on my blog: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/05/31/vermont-city-marathon-full-of-syrup-scenery-and-support/