MIDDLEBURY - Planning for the third edition of the "Middlebury Maple Run - The Sweetest Half" is well under way.
The half marathon (13.1 miles) and two-person relay race will take place on Sunday, May 1 with a start time of 9 a.m. The race will start and finish from in front of the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association (MVAA), 55 Collins Dr., located behind Porter Medical Center. Registration has been open since early November and numbers are ahead of registrations at this time last year.
Now in its third year, the race has grown steadily. In 2009, the inaugural race attracted 225 registrants. Last year's race had 569 runners - 353 runners completed the full 13.1-mile distance and 57 two-person teams finished the relay. Race organizers are planning on a field of up to 850 participants with a similar ratio between the half marathon and two-person relay.
Runners can register online or download and mail a paper entry form. Student registration rates never change: $30 individual/$40 team. As of Feb. 1, the rates for non-students are $40 individual/$60 team. Links to online registration or a downloadable form can be found at the event Web site at: www.middleburymaplerun.com.
Several improvements are being planned for the 2011 race. The most significant changes are related to runner safety. There will be improved traffic control in the finish area.
Other improvements include indoor registration, packet pickup, and bag check at the MVAA facility on race morning. Runners will also be able to pick up their packets or register on Saturday, April 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Middlebury Inn, race headquarters. There will be a pre-race cocktail reception during Saturday's packet pick-up.
There is a post-race party for all runners at no charge. Additional tickets for friends and family members can be purchased for $10/adult or $6/child. The party will be held under a tent adjacent to the start/finish area. Catering will be provided by Two Brothers Tavern and Middlebury-based band, The Horse Traders, are providing live music.
The race course is USATF-certified (#VT09002RF). The race is run on a 50/50 mix of paved and hard-packed dirt roads with several elevation changes - some long grades but nothing too steep. Runners will enjoy beautiful views of the Green and Adirondack Mountains and green pastures throughout the race. The first half of the course is a loop and the second half is an out-and-back which will be closed to traffic. The midway point and relay exchange zone is on the Middlebury College campus.
Last year, the Middlebury Maple Run distributed race proceeds to several worthwhile organizations: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, H.O.P.E., Porter Hospital's Open Door Clinic and Girls on the Run. Two other organizations, the Middlebury Police Explorers and Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, were recognized by the race for their support in making it a successful and safe event.
The Middlebury Maple Run Organizing Committee is made up of: Terry Aldrich, Middlebury College; Benj Deppman, Deppman & Foley; Dave Donahue, Middlebury College; Sue Hoxie, race co-director, Addison County Chamber of Commerce; Angel Lynn, Addison Independent; Andrea Solomon, race co-director, Middlebury College. The event website is www.middleburymaplerun.com.