Vermont City Marathon returns in person, cut back by half

Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 3:19 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:51 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Despite it being downsized to half its length due to COVID-19 concerns, the Vermont City Marathon received a warm welcome back to Burlington Sunday.

“It’s just freaking awesome is the only way we can put it,” said Peter Delaney, executive director of RunVermont. he said the event was the culmination of a long 29 months of planning. “But it changed every month, and we’re just ecstatic to be able to be out here enjoying it today.”

Sunday morning runners finally got their time to shine, but this year, just 13.1 miles out of the typical 26.2. Runners say they don’t mind a shorter race with pandemic protocols if it means they can finally do it together in person. “I was just happy it was happening at all,” said Catherine Curtin of Winooski.

“That’s the way things go, and you just have to be pragmatic and do what’s right for the community and not spreading COVID around, so it’s totally fine,” said Joe Winget of Shelburne.

There were only about 2,500 runners this year, all of whom started their race at staggered times and were asked to wear a mask when not racing. Though the event attracts as many as 20,000 spectators a year, the much smaller crowd of a few hundred made a big impact on morale.

“All of our volunteers came back, and the support from the community has been awesome, so that’s not different, but it sure feels different in these times,” said Delaney.

“Everyone is totally jazzed, totally happy, positive energy all around,” said La Mujer Maravilla Peluda of Winooski.

They say they have frequented the marathon over the years, and the changes haven’t phased them. “It’s just delayed, and to tell you the truth, I’d rather do it in the fall,” La Mujer said. As someone who identifies themselves as the hairy Wonder Woman and loves to run in costume, they say the timing is perfect. “It’s just this feeling in the air. Halloween is coming, it’s a vibrant atmosphere, it’s just wonderful.”

And despite the changes, many things stayed the same. A fan favorite is the Taiko drummers -- a consistent reminder to runners and fans alike to keep climbing the hill on Battery Street for a strong finish.

“Definitely the bongo drums, they kept me going up the hill for sure,” said Emily Proctor of Winooski.

Related Stories:

Runners and organizers gear up for modified Vermont City Marathon

Citing COVID uncertainty, Vt. City Marathon shrinks to half-marathon, relay

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