Burlington basks in return of marathon crowds

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After a multi-year hiatus, the return of the Vermont City Marathon Saturday brought thousands of people to the Queen City. Organizers say the return of the event was a success and many businesses we spoke to would agree.

The 2022 Vermont City Marathon was a long time coming, not just for the runners but for Burlington businesses as well. This year’s change in course layout to a shorter loop also meant more of a focus on downtown.

“There was a lot more attention to the downtown area and Church Street,” said Mark Bouchett, the co-owner of Homeport. And he says the more people flocking to Church Street, the better. “It’s about the long-term health of my business. You know, people get to know downtown as a way for people to come here. They come down here for a community event. That’s really important and it’s important for us for in the long haul.”

The Skinny Pancake near the waterfront was on a different part of the course and also welcomed the increased traffic. “The race started here. So, even in the morning, there are tons of crowds with people sitting on the patio cheering on their friends and family racing,” said the restaurant’s Johnny Benvenuto. “We’re on pace for a great summer. I think that we’ve seen so far more tourism in Burlington and by the waterfront.”

The marathon marks the first event of its size in the city since the pandemic began. “It was the day that the event needed to have after a three-year hiatus to make sure the community remembered what it was really like,” said Peter Delaney with RunVermont, the VCM’s organizer.

Roughly 5,000 runners participated in this year’s event. That’s less than previous years when upwards of 8,000 runners took to the streets. Delaney says the smaller course and capped runner registration were by design to make the event as safe as possible. “It was really about what do we think the course can handle.” He says the feedback was mostly positive but there were some hiccups on directions at some points in the course. He says they’ll be gathering feedback as one way to help make a decision on the course going in the future. “I think it makes Burlington shine. I think it makes Vermont shine in a way that no other event does. And I think that’s what’s special about it.”

Registration for next year’s marathon will open in the early fall.

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