Location: Burlington, VT
Date: May 25, 2014
This race is well-organized! The website is full of useful information and registration is simple (http://www.vermontcitymarathon.org/). Packet pickup is at a nearby hotel and is quite convenient. The parking is a little tricky on race morning, but not too bad. There are plenty of “bathrooms” available in and around Battery Park, right next to the start area. Spectators will be able to see you five times during the race (including the start and finish). That’s pretty good for a marathon! Finally, the finish area in Battery Park is great! You are right on the lake and there is food and music for entertainment.
Registration is currently $99; it goes up to $105 on March 1; and $115 on May 1. While this is slightly expensive, I think it is a good value for this race.
One issue I have found is that many hotels in the area require two or three-night stays – and they aren’t cheap. In fact, the hotels in Burlington are the most expensive I’ve encountered for a race other than Boston. Book early and be prepared!
This course is nice. To be completely honest, I don’t think it’s that fast. I’ve run it twice and neither of my performances were anything to write home about. With that being said, it can be fast. The winning times last year were 2:18:23 and 2:42:02, respectively. Ninety-four people broke three hours and over eleven hundred runners broke four hours (out of 2600+ total finishers).
Here is the elevation map of the course:
The hill at 15 miles is a pretty good size, but the crowds in that area are substantial and there is an impressive drumbeat to get you over the top!
The race provides a short-sleeve tech tee and a nice finisher’s medal.
Burlington is a great little city! There are lots of places to eat out before the race (I recommend American Flatbread http://americanflatbread.com/) and plenty of fun places to go after the race (I recommend the Magic Hat Brewery http://www.magichat.net/visit/). It has turned into a fairly major event and you may have the opportunity to meet some running celebs (e.g. Bart Yasso, Jeff Galloway and Joan Benoit Samuelson). I don’t recommend traveling to races unless they are really good – and this one is definitely worth it!
I should point out that this race has a history of lousy weather – in 2007 and 2010, it was hot!! In 2011, the last time I was in the race, it rained. However, the average high for race weekend is 70 degrees and the average low is 48 – just right!
Finally, there is also a relay along with this race. It is quite popular and it does create a little traffic out on the course. I wouldn’t say it’s a big negative, but it is something to consider.
If you are looking for a fun race to do in the Spring, you should seriously consider the Vermont City Marathon.