I am not sure what modifying table I might use to fit this one into a marathon comparative equation chart, but overall, I feel my race Sunday might score well on some sort of "difficulty quotient graph.” This was the inaugural running of the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont. "Mad" purportedly used because it was held in the scenic Mad River Valley, and professedly not limited to the insane.
It was hot. Very hot. Well, what would one expect for the middle of July?
And it was hilly, or mountainous, take your pick of adjectives. If you were not going up, you were going down, and I was thinking at one point that given a comparison, the second half of the Cape Cod Marathon would be described as flat. Of 600 entries in the marathon, only four finished under three hours, so that gives you an idea.
But it was green & gold gorgeous, living up to its promotion ads as America’s Most Beautiful Marathon. (Well, Cape Cod or Big Sur might contest that). Corn fields and sun flowers and cows and horses and green pastures everywhere. A quaint little New England village much resembling Woodstock, with nary a MacDonald’s or Burger King to be found. And for a first-time event, newbie management glitches were at a minimum, nobody ran off course, and water stations seemed to show up whenever you needed them. Best of all, Vermonters lived up to their reputation as friendly folk. Hoses were everywhere. Kids, especially, love the license to squirt adults full in the face.
A room with a view at a ski chalet set us back a very reasonable sum of $54, and there were museums and galleries scattered throughout the town for those wanting a little diversion. I would recommend this little race next year for those not necessarily looking for a fast course to qualify on, but perhaps filling in their 50-state race card or Marathon Maniac status. Or a HARD training run for an ultra race!
Which, if that is what I was after, I got my money’s worth! I think my time of 4:45 might have been worth 4:10 on a more normal course and perhaps with temps 30 degrees cooler.
~ Pete Stringer, nearing 200