This is now my third year running this race because I get free registration through work, and my feelings are the same as in years past. It's a great community event, but it has some logistical issues.
- Great community support--people on their lawns and porches cheering, playing music, or spraying hoses for runners to go through (it's usually pretty hot)
- Mostly flat course with a couple of small hills
- Streamlined bib pickup process
- Chip timing
- Well-manned water stop at the halfway point
- Race official calling out times at each mile marker
- Traffic coming into Montpelier is a nightmare. I got off the highway at 4:40, sat in traffic for 20 minutes, and ended up parking almost a mile away from the start at the Park and Ride. There are no shuttles, so I had to run over.
- Parking options aren't always super clear. They send out an email before the race telling you where you can and can't park, but some signage coming off the highway would be very helpful.
- There is a mass start with close to 4000 participants, but almost zero race etiquette. In the pre-race emails, it's suggested to seed yourself appropriately based on your pace (and walker vs. runner), but even so, the first half mile or so of the race is extremely congested, and many people end up stopping to walk right away. People walk in large clumps, all over the road, so a lot of bobbing and weaving is necessary.
- Cotton t-shirt
If you're looking to "race" this one, make sure you seed yourself way up at the front; otherwise, resign yourself to the crowds and jostling.