Overall Rating
Overall Rating (25 Reviews)
4.4
(25 Ratings)  (25 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.8
SCENERY
4.8
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
3.4
The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon! Take it easy or take it tough…the Mad Marathon has a race for every runner at any level. You will be running through this extraordinary rural community on back and dirt roads, with breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, challenging rolling farmlands with tough climbs and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    venu.vegesana FIRST-TIMER '22

    Its good hilly race with beautiful scenery. The hotels around are pricy on race day so stayed 7 miles away to the race. the expo is simple tent to collect … MORE

    Its good hilly race with beautiful scenery. The hotels around are pricy on race day so stayed 7 miles away to the race. the expo is simple tent to collect the bib and they have normal cotton shirt for the race.
    Parking available on start line
    Good water stations through out the course. Save some energy for last 10 miles as initial miles have more hills specially 2nd mile.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    scottclem FIRST-TIMER '22

    I was expecting hilly and it did not disappoint. After 40+ marathons I can say that this was the hilliest road marathon that I’ve done. Much more challenging than Big … MORE

    I was expecting hilly and it did not disappoint. After 40+ marathons I can say that this was the hilliest road marathon that I’ve done. Much more challenging than Big Sur, IMO.
    It takes place in a small town on rural roads in VT and is surrounded by hills of trees. Being the first time in VT the beauty and lushness of it all blew me away. For lodging be sure to book early at one of the many B&Bs or Inns nearby. They may cost you a little more than your normal hotel but s very much worth it. Having just run Grandmas marathon where the prices of hotels are way overpriced for the value, the prices of the lodging here is appropriate. The production of the race is A+. Not much swag but the RD and support people are sooo nice, and the aid stations are top notch. In fact I’d suggest that the people that organize and support the race are a major factor that makes this race special. Let’s hope it remains the gem that it is.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    dlmartin FIRST-TIMER '22

    Wowzer! The hills were definitely challenging for me. The weather was hotter and more humid than I am accustom to. But other than my personal challenges, this race location and … MORE

    Wowzer! The hills were definitely challenging for me. The weather was hotter and more humid than I am accustom to. But other than my personal challenges, this race location and course are spectacular. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. The race production is super supportive and allows sufficient time for all to finish the race. This is a great do again race…. only next time, I will be more prepared for hill work.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    HardRockMom FIRST-TIMER '22

    Small race with a bigtime feel. Beautiful scenery and covered bridges are part of the course. Generous cut off time. Great support before, during and after. The hills , oh … MORE

    Small race with a bigtime feel. Beautiful scenery and covered bridges are part of the course. Generous cut off time. Great support before, during and after. The hills , oh my! Would highly recommend!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    rclay1962 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Great organization and super volunteers.Definitely a race for the BOP. Party in the back. Unless you run in the mountains you will not come close to the mile-long steep climbs. … MORE

    Great organization and super volunteers.Definitely a race for the BOP. Party in the back. Unless you run in the mountains you will not come close to the mile-long steep climbs. The downhills are rewarding for those with good knees. There are no shoulders to run on until the last 10k and not much of it. I walked backward at the famous dip to stop the knee pain. Bad race decisions make for better stories. Go for lt.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    Packet pick was easy with no vendors; race shirt is ok. Race morning start was on time. The hills came early on and continue all of this race. Ate me … MORE

    Packet pick was easy with no vendors; race shirt is ok. Race morning start was on time. The hills came early on and continue all of this race. Ate me alive! So much beauty to pass the time. Well stocked stations pretty frequent with multiple out and backs so hit them both ways. Watermelon with salt on the course this year was yummy. Not much of an after party; however, I was one of the last few to finish so maybe we missed it. Ice cold pool to wade or soak in after is a plus!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    mazzyoc FIRST-TIMER '21

    - great destination run through the mad river valley - run through green foliage, mountain views, farmland, red barns, covered bridges - lots of aid stations and volunteers cheering you … MORE

    – great destination run through the mad river valley
    – run through green foliage, mountain views, farmland, red barns, covered bridges
    – lots of aid stations and volunteers cheering you on
    – very hilly. not even just rolling hills, but some are quite an incline
    – book early, as race is in and near small towns. mostly small hotels and bed and breakfast types. downtown burlington is only about 40 mins away. even Vermont’s biggest city has a small town feel to it (which is great!)

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    amy.schaumburg FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is a surprisingly tough course of mostly rolling hills but some steep stuff too. The landscape is charming and the volunteers at start/finish and all aid station were so … MORE

    This is a surprisingly tough course of mostly rolling hills but some steep stuff too. The landscape is charming and the volunteers at start/finish and all aid station were so friendly! Even plenty of watermelon for us back of the pack runners. LOVED IT!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    RRWAEB83 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This was a gorgeous race, well run, amazing communication, and lovely area. While a challenging course, it was very worth it. The support and volunteers were so friendly! I’d definitely … MORE

    This was a gorgeous race, well run, amazing communication, and lovely area. While a challenging course, it was very worth it. The support and volunteers were so friendly! I’d definitely do this one again!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    canderson.rce FIRST-TIMER '19

    If anyone is looking for an amazing race experience, run the Mad Marathon – or the half. I really cannot say enough great things about this marathon. Is it hilly? … MORE

    If anyone is looking for an amazing race experience, run the Mad Marathon – or the half. I really cannot say enough great things about this marathon. Is it hilly? YES! It is beautiful? Absolutely! It’s the laid back and relaxed feeling of this smaller marathon tucked away in central Vermont that I enjoyed so much, and everyone was so friendly and helpful. The old covered bridges, gems of the engineering past and iconic symbols of Vermont, provide a unique and distinctive touch to this event.

    A huge thank you to the race director Dori and all her staff and volunteers for making all the runners feel so welcome. She really knows how to throw a party.

    If you have never visited the Mad River Valley, I highly recommend it. While there, visit the Mad Taco for some succulent tacos, burritos, locally produced ciders or craft beers, but beware, some of the hot sauces can set your mouth on fire. Lastly, if you have the legs for it, sign up for the Mad Marathon and hope that, like me, you manage to wake up on race morning with an autumnal chill so that hills are the only wrenches thrown into your running gears.

    This is a place where one can kick back, relax and digest the hills of the Green Mountain State. While some runners may see serial marathoning as a fool’s errand, there’s no mistaking a race’s ability to bring people together, runners and non-runners alike. As long as there are marathons I have yet to run, there’s still the potential of returning for yet another round of food, laughter, and of course, many long miles.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    The race was simple and straight forward. EVERYONE was nice and you even get a hug at the end! There were 2 medium hills and lots of rolling ones, road … MORE

    The race was simple and straight forward. EVERYONE was nice and you even get a hug at the end! There were 2 medium hills and lots of rolling ones, road was half paved and half gravel, with very few cars to deal with. Water/aid stations were more than enough and volunteers were on their game. Scenery was nice; farm fields, woods and views of mountains.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    kmusheno FIRST-TIMER '19

    Course: Mix of paved road and hard gravel road up and down hills. Hills start at Mile 2 and go up and down for most of the race, causing most … MORE

    Course: Mix of paved road and hard gravel road up and down hills. Hills start at Mile 2 and go up and down for most of the race, causing most runners to walk a substantial portion of the course. (Make sure that you warm up before the race. You’ll need it.) Lots of farms and roadside creeks line the course. Last three miles were mostly downhill, which made finishing somewhat tolerable. This was my personal worst course. The weather was tolerable on race day but would have been oppressive if we had the weather from the day before.

    Location: Great place for a destination race with tons of things to do nearby. Lots of hiking and mountain biking trails and waterfalls nearby.
    Waitsfield has Sugarbush ski resort and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Nearby Stowe has Stowe Mountain Ski Resort and Von Trapp and Alchemist Breweries. Halfway in between is Waterbury, which has Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese and Green Mountain Coffee visitor centers. It was not too hard to get a hotel room as the area hotels are really in their off season.

    Swag: Basic cotton t-shirt and sack pack. Finisher medal was pretty nice.

    Race Support: Water stops about every mile or so with a fair amount of supporters throughout the course for such a remote area. RDs need to organize the water station volunteers better though. GUs were left on tables after the water stops.

    Post-Race: Finisher support was pretty basic for a marathon, but the free Lawson’s beer afterwards was much appreciated.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    This is the hilliest race I’ve ever run. Do not expect a PR, but expect a feeling of accomplishment like none other! Packet pickup was low key and easy, and … MORE

    This is the hilliest race I’ve ever run. Do not expect a PR, but expect a feeling of accomplishment like none other!

    Packet pickup was low key and easy, and the shirts are fitted, soft and cute! Highlights of the weekend were the live concert two days before on the Mad River green, and the farmers market the morning before the race.

    The race was small enough to feel intimate, but large enough to be a really great experience. The marathon and half run together on the same course for the first 5 miles or so, and then meet up a little later.

    The community feel of the race made the endless and steep hills much more bearable! Everyone was incredibly nice and supportive.

    Most amazing part? The last few miles were almost completely downhill. I’d really recommend this race, especially for the views and the amazingly challenging course!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '18

    I have run all fifty states but some races are still must-do events, and Mad Marathon was supposed to be one such race. I’d heard it was beautiful but challenging … MORE

    I have run all fifty states but some races are still must-do events, and Mad Marathon was supposed to be one such race. I’d heard it was beautiful but challenging and it lived up to both counts.

    Waitsfield is a beautiful little town and worth visiting. There are tons of little B&B’s to choose from (Yellow Farmhouse Inn was lovely). Packet pickup is near where the race begins/ends and takes about thirty seconds. There is also race morning pickup which to me, is always a nice perk even when I don’t need it. There is no city traffic to fight through on race day and it’s overall a peaceful setting for the start and finish. I love races like this!

    The start area is literally around the corner from the finish chute and festivities so logistics are easy in terms of parking and having extra stuff. I parked about 20 yards away which was awesome. After a Marathon Maniacs photo we all walked to the start, listened to a beautiful singing of the National Anthem, and then began the 26.2 mile meat grinder.

    Lots of people flew off the line only to come crashing back to earth after the first few monster hills. This is not a PR course in my humble opinion. Coming off a PR last month, and coming into this race with a new fueling and nutrition plan, I had already tossed time goals out of my mind and planned to focus on scenery. Plus, it was very warm though blessedly not a humid day.

    The course is just gorgeous. It runs along roads both paved and dirt (no rock or debris issues), by pastures, picturesque barns, valley views, over and next to rivers, and through covered bridges. I took several photos on the move to try and capture this Tolkien-esque area. This also helped take my mind off all of the hills. There are many, many hills, but thankfully the last five miles or so are flatter so at least you don’t get crushed right up to the finish. I’ll point out one more time that it’s hilly; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people walking during a race (including me, up the hills!). Don’t get excited about a downhill because you’ll pay for it on the other side.

    There were aid stations roughly every two miles with amazingly cold water. They also had Gatorade and some had gels. It was pretty hot by 10am or so, and combined with the hills those stations were like an oasis.

    The finish chute is cool, with flags and a faux covered bridge finish arch. The medal is very nice and substantial (I don’t care for the pink shirt, but that’s just me). You also get a hug from the race director which is a nice personal element.

    This is not a race you run for a personal best or crowd support. This is a race you run because you know it’s going to be tough but beautiful. It was both and also well worth the effort.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jul 10, 2018 at 6:29pm

    I've mentioned this in your other reviews, but you and I tend to prefer the same small-town, laid-back types of races... plus I love hills, so Mad definitely piques my… MORE

    I've mentioned this in your other reviews, but you and I tend to prefer the same small-town, laid-back types of races... plus I love hills, so Mad definitely piques my interest. Great word too, "Tolkien-esque," I love the images that conjures up (minus the orcs). And how often do you get a finisher's hug from the RD? Nice touch, and especially considering how, um, aglow her runners must have been after 26.2 miles up and down hills on a hot day! Thanks for another awesome review, Meg — and I'd love to know how your fueling strategy worked, since I've spent significant time training my body to run on its fat stores without actually committing to a ketogenic diet. LESS

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    RunnerMeg Jul 11, 2018 at 4:32am

    Thanks Mike! If you like hills, you’ll like Mad Marathon! It was a lovely little race and the RD made it special. I’m newer to the keto/LCHF way of life… MORE

    Thanks Mike! If you like hills, you’ll like Mad Marathon! It was a lovely little race and the RD made it special. I’m newer to the keto/LCHF way of life and its effects on endurance running but I’m curious to see what will happen during the next race (which presumably has fewer hills!). 🤓 LESS

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    VTKRAMER FIRST-TIMER '18

    Beautiful course, but the hills were crazy. Mile 2 is basically a climb the entire way...be prepared for ups and downs. The views are spectacular. MORE

    Beautiful course, but the hills were crazy. Mile 2 is basically a climb the entire way…be prepared for ups and downs. The views are spectacular.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    Evwatkins FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race is easily in my Top 5 favorites (out of 56 marathons to date). The scenery is amazing. Course: Yes- the hills are CRAZY! I would have enjoyed it … MORE

    This race is easily in my Top 5 favorites (out of 56 marathons to date). The scenery is amazing.
    Course: Yes- the hills are CRAZY! I would have enjoyed it more had I not run the Bear Brook trail Marathon the day before in New Hampshire – which was equally difficult!
    Crew: The volunteers were very helpful and aid stations were very sufficient.

    Would I return?: Definitely!! I wish I had planned more time to explore the area. Would definitely go back!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 31, 2018 at 6:44pm

    Ha ha, I'm sure your legs LOVED the return flight home! :) Congrats on the hilly back-to-backs, this sounds like a fun and challenging way to notch NH and VT… MORE

    Ha ha, I'm sure your legs LOVED the return flight home! :) Congrats on the hilly back-to-backs, this sounds like a fun and challenging way to notch NH and VT in the same weekend. Appreciate all your thoughtful reviews! LESS

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    demman1024 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    No one said it would be easy. And they were correct! Train on hills and you'll be fine. I really enjoyed this race. I can't remember my exact time but … MORE

    No one said it would be easy. And they were correct! Train on hills and you’ll be fine. I really enjoyed this race. I can’t remember my exact time but i did get first in my age group. It’s definitely not a good one to try to time qualify for anything. So worth it though! Everything about it was just fun and beautiful. Small town atmosphere. The expo was tiny but there was a nice Farmer’s Market with entertainment and lots of things to look at just across the street. Plenty of amazing places to eat and beautiful bed and breakfast. i stayed at the White Horse Inn and it was amazing in every way!
    One of my fav race shirts–maybe because it’s purple? And it fits? Nice medal, hug from the race director at the finish. Nice volunteers–plenty of stuff on course. Do it!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Joann FIRST-TIMER '16

    The town was beautiful surrounded by hills and a lovely covered bridge that we ran through. We stayed at a bed and breakfast and our hosts were very attentive to … MORE

    The town was beautiful surrounded by hills and a lovely covered bridge that we ran through. We stayed at a bed and breakfast and our hosts were very attentive to our needs and the food was excellent. Be prepared for hills because it is very hilly.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    MManock FIRST-TIMER '16

    Amazing countryside race. Severely hilly. Beautiful covered bridges. Mountains. Very tiring, but completely worth it! Beginning starts on the main street, turns to cross a covered bridge, and then the … MORE

    Amazing countryside race. Severely hilly. Beautiful covered bridges. Mountains. Very tiring, but completely worth it! Beginning starts on the main street, turns to cross a covered bridge, and then the hills begin… and continue. AND CONTINUE! Then a harsh downhill, some flat, another covered bridge. Rolling from here until a 2-3 mile down hill and finish up the main street.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    klucht FIRST-TIMER '16

    This course was brutal, beautiful and fun! I love hilly courses, but this was ridiculous. The background of this race was truly picturesque with rural country farms and mountains. I … MORE

    This course was brutal, beautiful and fun! I love hilly courses, but this was ridiculous. The background of this race was truly picturesque with rural country farms and mountains. I was even lucky enough to run thru the fog which made up for the steep inclines and declines. Temperature was cool which was treat since the race is in July.
    I would highly recommend!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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