Burlington, VT– Sunday was a beautiful day for a walk, jog, or even a 26-mile run. The Vermont City Marathon brought thousands to Waterfront Park, and officials say much planning goes into putting on this event for the community to enjoy.
Relay racers, hand cyclists, and marathoners from far and wide played a part in the annual race. Over 4,600 runners crossed the finish line, and spectators and supporters from the Greater Burlington Area – and all over the country – celebrated on the waterfront.
“It’s the start of the season, we have a lot of festivals coming up, Discover Jazz, the July 3rd fireworks, so why not start off with a marathon,” notes RunVermont Executive Director Joe Connelly.
Connelly says many look forward to the event every year, and this time around, he’s pleased with the sunshine.
“It’s a little warm to be a runner, but not bad for the first hour. We hear time and time again from the runners, why do I come to this race, why do I come back? Burlington community,” he says.
Connelly notes without the large team of volunteers, the race wouldn’t be able to happen. Lloyd Blake has volunteered for the past 10 years, serving as a start coordinator.
“The only year I took off was when I ran it once, and that was enough for me. I wanted to see what everyone went through. I’ve enjoyed the positive attitude and the great camaraderie of the community, this keeps me coming back every year,” says Blake.
M&T Bank has sponsored the marathon since 2015. Heidi Stumpff, the regional market president, says it’s not just the people that benefit, but the economy as well.
“This is such a great community event, not only does it kick off summer here, but it brings all sorts of people together. Between the volunteers, the runners, the economic impact of the hotels, restaurants, and shops in Burlington, it’s just really good for the community,” says Stumpff.
1,600 racers ran the full marathon, and another 3,000 relayed. 19 Vermonters finished the 26.2-mile feat in the top 100 racers.
“Crossing a finish line in a major marathon is an amazing accomplishment and most people’s goals, and it’s not always about winning, it’s about getting across the line, which is awesome to watch,” notes Blake.
As spectators watched, Joe Connelly is already planning for next year.