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Runners and organizers gear up for modified Vermont City Marathon

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Runners are preparing for a much different Vermont City Marathon this Sunday. With rising COVID cases, organizers made the last-minute pivot to a half-marathon instead of the full race.

Runners dropped by the DoubleTree Expo in Burlington Friday to pick up their bibs. While it’s not the race most signed up for, they’re still making the most of the occasion.

“Thinking it’s going to be a fun run. I was a little bummed that it got brought down to the half marathon,” said Kimberley Maceachern of Burlington. She has participated in the Vermont City Marathon before that was even its name, more than a decade ago. Two years after the last event, She’s back and ready to hit the ground running beside her fellow athletes.

“The running community is a family and so anytime we’ve been out running, we boost each other up.”

With only 2,500 out of the typical 7,500 runners signed up for the 13.1-mile course, it certainly won’t be as crowded. But organizers are putting their best foot forward to keep the celebratory atmosphere. “Really, just trying to get people excited and pumped up about the race,” said Kate Vetter.

All week long, Run Vermont has been wishing runners good luck while providing regular COVID protocol updates. Runners must now wear masks at the start and finish areas and can remove them once they get moving. Organizers have also eliminated the beer tent and public food vendors and are encouraging families to grab seats at a local brewery or restaurant. Runners will still get a post-race snack. “It’s not the social gathering that it normally is with tons of things happening and tons of people around,” admitted Vetter.

There are also 50% fewer volunteers than the usual 1,000 or so. Tina Lagrow has been volunteering for the past 11 years and id happy to help. “There are still a good number of volunteers who are here, so it’s great to see that so many people have still come out, even with all of the requirements,” she said.

And runners say they hope the community will come out to the course with the same energy. “Just the little kids cheering, waving to us, giving us thumbs up. Those sorts of things help us get through the whole run,” Maceachern said.

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