Last weekend’s Vermont City Marathon may be the king of the Queen City’s running calendar, but for the fleet — and not-so-fleet — of foot, the Green Mountain State has plenty of other royally fun races. From post-work trots (Tuesday trumps all when it comes to blowing off weekday steam) and loops along Lake Champlain to nudist 5Ks and Route 100 relays, Vermonters know how to book it.
“All summer, you can find simple, family-friendly and affordable events off in the countryside,” says Charlie Windisch, president of the Green Mountain Athletic Association. Personally, he says, he prefers to toe the starting line at small, local races rather than get buried in the back at a marathon. A few years ago, Windisch notes, he ran the Father’s Day Fun Run in Essex Junction with a bum hamstring — and with his son — in 37 minutes. “It was the slowest 5K of my life,” he says. “But I had a great time.”
Here’s the run-down on Vermont foot races this season.
JUNE 3 THROUGH OCTOBER 28, 5:30 P.M.
Central Valley Runners Summer Fun Runs &; Walks
Pick your distance: 1, 2, 4 or 6 miles for these Tuesday-night meanders along the Montpelier Recreation Path.
JUNE 3 TO SEPTEMBER 23, 6 P.M.
Tuesday Night Trail Running Series
Some 200 runners show up in Williston every week for the Catamount Outdoor Family Center’s 5K fun race (2.5K for kids 9-12); organizers present end-of-season awards based on attendance, not performance.
SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 10 A.M.
First Annual North Country Animal League 5K Race for the Animals & Mutt Strutt Too
Like headphones and baby joggers, dogs are pooh-poohed at most races, but not at this benefit for the North Country Animal League. Four-legged friends and walkers follow racers, who start and end at the Stowe Events Field.
SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 9:15 A.M.
Third Annual Remembrance Run 5K & 1-Mile Youth Run
Proceeds from this Morrisville event, which draws about 400 runners and walkers and features prizes and pizza at the finish, go toward a scholarship created in the names of Sigrid Bronner and Trace Santos Barber, two Peoples Academy student athletes who died in a car accident in 2005.
SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 8 A.M.
32nd Annual Crowley Brothers 10K, 5K & Kids’ Downtown Mile Run
The oldest 10K in New England brings marathon champion Bill Rodgers to Rutland; runners must register by June 4.
TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 6:30 P.M.
Summer Sunset 5K Trail Running Series
On the second Tuesday of June, July and August, Rutland runners race a 5K loop in Pine Hill Park.
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 9 A.M.
Capital City Stampede 10K
Racers hit the pavement — and the dirt — for this flat, fast, out-and-back 10K in Montpelier.
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 8:30 A.M.
Basin Harbor 5K & Half-Mile Kids’ Run
Everyone wins at this scenic, slightly rolling 5K, as entry fees also include a day pass to the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes.
SUNDAY, JUNE 15, 9 A.M.
Fathers’ Day Fun Run 5K
Dads, granddads and anyone else who signs up by June 1 get a T-shirt; the race starts at Maple Street Park in Essex Junction.
SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 9 A.M.
Run for Empowerment 1K Kids’ Fun Run, 5K Walk/Run & 10K Run
Waterfront Park in Burlington sees the start and finish of this event, while sponsored runners raise at least $25 each for Women Helping Battered Women.
SATURDAY, JUNE 21 & SUNDAY, JUNE 22
Green Mountain Relay
Teams of up to 12 runners can toast the summer solstice with a 200-mile relay race (split into 36 legs from 2.1 to 9.9 miles each) along Route 100 from Jeffersonville to Bennington.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 9 A.M.
Coventry’s 5K Cross-Country Run & Walk, Clothing Optional (ages 18-plus)
Forget expensive sports bras, wicking socks and poly-pro shirts and shorts. You need only running shoes for this first-ever bare tear through the Coventry Club and Resort in Milton. And some sunscreen, reminds race director Sue Butts (yes, her real name), who helps organize a national series of nudist 5Ks from her base in North Carolina.
Compared with other races in the “Butts A’ Runnin” series (the Take Pride in Your Hide in North Carolina, the Bare Hare in Pennsylvania), registration for Vermont’s version has been a bit chilly, Butts says. “We’ll get more interest, though,” she adds. “You’d be surprised how many strip off their clothing at the start.”
Don’t things tend to jiggle around? “Nope, we’ve heard no complaints,” says Butts. “It’s natural.”
SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 8:45 A.M.
Paul Mailman Montpelier 10-Miler
Central Vermont’s longest continuously held road race starts and finishes near Montpelier High School.
FRIDAY, JULY 4, 8:30 A.M.
26th Green Mountain Athletic Association Clarence DeMar 5K
DeMar won seven Boston Marathons, but the race run in his name (and near his house in South Hero) is a shorter effort, made even shorter this year by the absence of the traditional 10K option.
SATURDAY, JULY 19, 9 A.M.
Second Annual Ribbon 5K Run/Walk
This off-road run in Charlotte benefits the Cancer Patient Support Program of Vermont Emergency Fund.
425-2384 or email@example.com
SUNDAY, JULY 20, 9 A.M.
Stowe 8 Miler
If you think this sounds like a leisurely stroll through Sound of Music land, think again. Around since 1981, the Stowe 8 Miler is one of Vermont’s legendary races, and it pulls some of New England’s speediest souls to the scenic resort town. (For out-of-towners, Stowe in the summer is part of the appeal.)
Last year, the 8 Miler took a breather, but it’s back thanks to Loco, a New Hampshire shoe company that also organizes Northeast races. Those racers who can spare the time to look at anything but their watches get to sightsee, as Mount Mansfield, the Trapp Valley Lodge, Moscow, the West Branch of the Little River and the Vermont Ski Museum line the course. Oh, and there’s free beer and ice cream at the finish — which may also help explain the appeal.
SATURDAY, JULY 26, NOON
Barre Homecoming Festival Downtown 5K
Lope around a loop that connects downtown to the bike path; the first 50 entrants get T-shirts.
SUNDAY, JULY 27, 8 A.M.
Three-Day Stampede 5K
Actually only a one-day race that starts at the Bristol Green and ends at the Bristol Recreation Field, the 5K is part of a long weekend dedicated to raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Other events include a chicken barbecue, a used-book sale and a silent auction.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 9 A.M.
16th Scholarship 5K Cross-Country Run
From Red Rocks Park in South Burlington, runners rocket along a rolling dirt race course that loops left, right and back again. Views of Lake Champlain can help you keep your bearings.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16,
check website for start times.
100 on 100 Relay: Heart of Vermont
Once again, runners hit Route 100, Stowe to Ludlow, for a relay. Though the race is full, there’s still room on the waiting list for teams — and along the side of the road for spectators.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 6 P.M.
East Montpelier Center Chase Race
A staggered start based on age and gender makes for a great chase in this 5-mile race.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 8:30 A.M.
29th Round Church Women’s Run 5K and 10K
It’s all about the ladies at this set of races on paved courses in Richmond; procrastinators can stay home, as runners must register at least one day in advance.