This past weekend, the Middlebury Maple Run was held for the first time since 2019. Among the most widely-participated athletic events in Addison County, according to its website, the Maple Run has become one of the most respected races in New England. While the event’s main attraction is the 13.1-mile half marathon, the USA Track & Field-sponsored race also offered options of a 3-mile fun run and a relay.
The half marathon began and ended behind Porter Hospital. It took runners around Morgan Horse Farm and Sheep Farm Road, ending with a stretch through Middlebury College and South Street. The race course covered a variety of terrain, including pavement, dirt roads, and trails, giving racers a chance to run among Vermont vistas and explore the town of Middlebury.
While pandemic restrictions temporarily halted athletic events like the Maple Run, Covid-19 provided time for many people to try running for the first time, or revisit it again after a long hiatus.
For Olivia Mueller ’24, the Maple Run was her first time officially racing a half marathon. “I got really into distance and trail running during the pandemic…[a half marathon] definitely feels like a long distance to commit to!” Mueller wrote in an email to The Campus.
Mueller said she signed up for the race with a friend to celebrate his and his twin sister’s 21st birthday. In addition to Mueller and her friends, many students, faculty and professors from the college participated in the run, as well as residents from the town of Middlebury, Addison County and beyond.
Anne Lofgren ’23 had been waiting for the Maple Run since her first year, after it was canceled three years in a row.
“It was such a full circle moment to finally run [the race] my senior year. The camaraderie and energy between the runners during the half marathon was so heartwarming and inspiring,” Lofgren told The Campus in an email.
Student-athletes from the college also stepped up to volunteer at the run, including members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams and the men’s ice hockey team. Gene DeLorenzo, owner and principal of GKDSportsVision, helped to organize volunteers from the teams.
“Participants came from all around the country to take part in this annual race in Middlebury, and the efforts of the students involved were greatly appreciated,”DeLorenzo wrote in an email to The Campus. “Students set up posts at water stations along the route, along with flagging at crosswalks and assisting in the registration and parking venues.”
The volunteers arrived an hour before the start of the race to set up supplies and flags along the race, DeLorenzo added. Students also helped manage five aid stations along the course that offered water, Gatorade, bandages and Vaseline.
“It was a large undertaking on a normal basis — at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning on a college campus it was even more impressive!” DeLorenzo wrote.
After the dozens of runners crossed the finish line, they joined the Middlebury Lion’s Club for a celebratory post-run pancake breakfast.
“Spirits were high at the start and the finish — I think every race should have a pancake breakfast at the end,” Mueller wrote.
After the race, participants received official Middlebury Maple Run t-shirts featuring the event’s iconic “Mr. Sappy” mascot, a nip of maple syrup and some other fun prizes. Net proceeds from the race went toward three nonprofits — Girls on the Run, Middlebury First Responders and a Ukrainian aid organization (to be decided later based on the amount raised).
Following a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Three Day Stampede Towards the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis Walkathon and 5k, a race through Bristol, also took place this past Sunday. Over the last 30 years, the event has raised over two million dollars — all proceeds are donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. According to their website, the race was founded in support of the organizers’ granddaughter Kayla, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth.
Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common genetic diseases impacting children.
“The impact on Kayla's daily life was huge… We could not accept this as fact and decided to do everything we possibly could to change it,” the Three Day Stampede founders wrote on the website.
In past years, the Three Day Stampede has been a three-day long event with a silent auction, lawn sale, bake sale, used book sale and walk-a-thon. In 2019, the event was one of the largest grassroots fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. While the event has not yet fully returned to its weekend-long pre-pandemic format, the Walkathon and 5k race still had a great turnout.
Missed the Middlebury Maple Run or the Three Day Stampede this year? Both events will return for next year — stay tuned for their official dates. Check out middleburymaplerun.com and threedaystampede.org for more information.
Editor’s Note: Olivia Mueller ’24 is an Arts & Culture Editor.