Overall Rating
Overall Rating (40 Reviews)
4.3
(40 Ratings)  (40 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.8
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.3
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
Local Historical Weather (Jul 07):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  77  86  79  70  84
L (°F)  61  67  51  57  58
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Recent reviews

    dchaplin1990 FIRST-TIMER '24

    The course was very hilly, which wasn’t easy for me. I saw beautiful views of the MAD river valley, and saw some wild life. The medal is super cool. MORE

    The course was very hilly, which wasn’t easy for me. I saw beautiful views of the MAD river valley, and saw some wild life. The medal is super cool.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    radumasmk FIRST-TIMER '24

    Hardest marathon I’ve ever had the pleasure of running, and it was a pleasure. Great town, nice people, good but limited restaurants, and never ending hills. Had I not driven … MORE

    Hardest marathon I’ve ever had the pleasure of running, and it was a pleasure. Great town, nice people, good but limited restaurants, and never ending hills. Had I not driven the course on Saturday I think I would have quit because of the relentless hills. Brutal was a word heard frequently at the finish. Expected the July heat and was not disappointed. Unmatched scenery if you’re a fan of cows.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    JanaRugg FIRST-TIMER '24

    This was a very well run race that was much harder than I expected it to be. The weather was extra warm (high 70s-low 80s) and with a lot of … MORE

    This was a very well run race that was much harder than I expected it to be. The weather was extra warm (high 70s-low 80s) and with a lot of direct sun and climbs, it made for a tough marathon for me. There was not a lot of shade on the course but the scenery was amazing and the volunteers wonderful. Pace group leaders were awesome and packet picket was smooth as well. My only suggestions for improvement are 1) cold water and/or ice on the course (vs warm water) and 2) better stocking of TP in the porta potties. Highly recommend this event as it showcases so many of the beautiful rural area farmlands in this part of the country. Many charming towns to see in the area as well as the amazing Montreal not far away.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    smearon77 FIRST-TIMER '24

    What a beautiful rural course! This was a very challenging race with the hills, heat, and humidity, but I loved it nonetheless. The volunteers were so friendly and encouraging. It … MORE

    What a beautiful rural course! This was a very challenging race with the hills, heat, and humidity, but I loved it nonetheless. The volunteers were so friendly and encouraging. It was a mix of paved and packed gravel roads with some shade in spots. There are three or four covered bridges that we ran through as well. Believe the hype: it is difficult, but also well worth it.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    johnbizzell FIRST-TIMER '24

    Four hills with 200 feet of climb plus many others. Last 5 miles almost all downhill. Up hills are my lunch!! Be prepared for some slow miles on the uphills. MORE

    Four hills with 200 feet of climb plus many others. Last 5 miles almost all downhill. Up hills are my lunch!! Be prepared for some slow miles on the uphills.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    Christie629 FIRST-TIMER '24

    Billed as the worlds most beautiful. It’s beautiful but doesn’t quite hit that level. Hills are stupid hard but I didn’t die - lol! I walked the hills up and … MORE

    Billed as the worlds most beautiful. It’s beautiful but doesn’t quite hit that level. Hills are stupid hard but I didn’t die – lol! I walked the hills up and ran down. My worst half marathon time but because I ran with a friend it was good. I think had I run solo I would have been miserable.

    Area is lovely. Do the full B&B experience. Nice restaurants- fab sightseeing in area.

    Organization was great. Easy logistics. Easy to get in and out. Constructively – not enough potties on the start. Race shirt was terrible. No runner I spoke too liked it.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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    BrianYowler FIRST-TIMER '24

    If you've ever finished a marathon wishing you had suffered more, then the Mad Marathon is for you! Hot, Humid, HILLS! I've run 60 marathons and this was my slowest … MORE

    If you’ve ever finished a marathon wishing you had suffered more, then the Mad Marathon is for you! Hot, Humid, HILLS!
    I’ve run 60 marathons and this was my slowest of the “road” marathons by 5 minutes.
    Course: Mixture of dirt and paved roads. Basically 2 longer out and backs with a few shorter out/backs mixed in. Hills are relentless and many are steep. The course profile doesn’t do it justice…it’s way worse than I anticipated.
    Swag: Just the basics: short sleeve tech shirt and finisher medal.
    Aid Stations: Plentiful. All had water and gatorade. Would be nice if some had ice.
    Overall: If you are needing Vermont and you can only run in the summer, then this race might be for you. However, be prepared to suffer!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    edge FIRST-TIMER '24

    I knew it was hilly but man didn’t know it was going to be that hilly. Took it out of me from mile 11 on. Ran out of talent quickly. … MORE

    I knew it was hilly but man didn’t know it was going to be that hilly. Took it out of me from mile 11 on. Ran out of talent quickly. Fun to push yourself but this course is difficult.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    aubreynetzel FIRST-TIMER '23

    They don't even attempt to hide that this will be a challenging course - the hills are unrelenting and it was humid and hot on top of that. The pasta … MORE

    They don’t even attempt to hide that this will be a challenging course – the hills are unrelenting and it was humid and hot on top of that. The pasta dinner the day before was enjoyable and the race morning logistics were easy with close by parking.
    The good: Pacers, generous cut off (not sure what they advertise, but they have a sweeper to stay with the last runner), easy parking, food at the finish line.
    The bad: Tough course

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    pmallaya FIRST-TIMER '23

    its rolling hills all the way ,be prepared mentally and physically ! This is a small town race , no big crowd, but they make it up with enthusiasm. MORE

    its rolling hills all the way ,be prepared mentally and physically ! This is a small town race , no big crowd, but they make it up with enthusiasm.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    BrandonThompson FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first time trip to Vermont and it did not disappoint. The Mad Half is a challenging course with a total of 1,300 feet of elevation gain but … MORE

    This was my first time trip to Vermont and it did not disappoint. The Mad Half is a challenging course with a total of 1,300 feet of elevation gain but gorgeous views of countryside and two covered bridges. A small race field but still a good amount of spectators to cheer you up the hills. There were lots of water stations on the course, pacers for the marathon, and bike riders checking on runners. The 2023 run was humid and foggy which covered some of the views through mile 6. Once the fog lifted, the run was really peaceful and scenic. The pre-race events were fun in the town of Waitsfield. My family ate at Lawson’s Finest Liquids which was an awesome restaurant. Parking was easy on race morning although I usually arrive an hour early. We stayed at an Airbnb in Barre, visited Montpelier, Bragg Farm, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and the shops in Waitsfield. Great vacation destination for a race. The T-shirt is super comfortable and the medal is large. Post race food was good for a small race. Overall, I highly recommend the Mad Half Marathon and visit to Vermont.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This is the third half marathon I have done in Vermont. I chose this race because I am now back living in New England and this was one of the … MORE

    This is the third half marathon I have done in Vermont. I chose this race because I am now back living in New England and this was one of the closer half marathons for me this weekend. Pre-race communication was pretty good for a smaller, local race. I loved the RD sent a more personal welcome email when you sign up. There were regular updates and the website was pretty updated but a few minor details such as detailed parking instructions weren’t quite as clear. This is a little over a 2 hour drive for me. Since it started at 7am I decided to stay in a hotel. There are numerous bed and breakfasts in Waitsfield but they are a bit pricey. Definitely not crazy expensive if you are looking for a vacation but a bit more than I want to pay for what’s supposed to be a cheap weekend. Waitsfield is about 30 minutes from Montpelier and 45 minutes from Burlington if you want cheaper and more traditional options and don’t mind driving a bit. I stayed in Montpelier since it was on the way from NH. If you want the true Vermont experience stay at a B&B in town. If you want to save money stay in Montpelier. This year they had a pasta dinner before the race at a nearby B&B. I got my packet and went to the dinner. Packet pick-up was easy. I loved the shirt design. It is a polyblend shirt with an adorable chicken. Nice brick red color. You also got bib and drawstring bag. The pasta dinner was a bit pricey at $35 but I was very impressed they had 3 vegan protein options, vegan cheese, and tons of delicious fresh veggies. I’d recommend going and don’t worry if you are vegan or gluten-free everything was labeled and there were tons of options. Race morning went smooth. As I said I was a little unsure about parking so I got to the race early and parked literally a few feet away from the finish line. The race staging area was set up well. The finish line is an adorable barn design. So Vermont and really cute. There were announcement and the anthem. The start was on the road next to the finish. This short section of the road was closed off There was just a starting flag. There were pacers and a timing mat and it was a generally organized start. I started with the 3 hour pacers though I knew I had no chance at finishing close to 3 hours. The first part of the course is a bit downhill and flat and I wanted to make sure I didn’t go out way too fast. I planned to lose the pacers as soon as we reached the killer over 1 mile long hill at around mile 2. The hills in this race are killer and steep. There was well over 1000 feet of elevation gain. I think it was hillier than the Amish Country Running Festival. On top of the hills today was super, super humid and very hot. This was rough and it was definitely the hardest road half I have done. I don’t really want to penalize a race for weather but the difficulty is one of the main reasons I gave this four and not five sneakers as it was just not an enjoyable run. Even the downhills were quite steep and hard to do fast. However the views are spectacular. There are views of mountains and farmland. You even go under 2 covered bridges. And you see cows and horses. There aren’t a ton of spectators but there were some. I was impressed with the amount of spectators and volunteers for a small town race. Although you will go long stretches without spectators. There were aid stations about every 1 to 2 miles. Enough for most races. Today I needed more and was glad I was carrying water but expecting an aid stations every 1/2 mile in such a small town is a little unreasonable and I was happy with the number of aid stations there were. I believe they all had water and gatorade. I thought course was pretty well marked. There was the occasional section I thought could have been a bit clearer but I never got lost. There were also mile markers. A few of them seemed off by about 0.1 miles but then they started to line up again. Roads are open but it is on very quiet streets so not an issue. The only busy street near the start was closed off for the start and a small section closed off for the finish. It was a mix of paved roads and some dirt roads. The dirt roads were very smooth and had almost no rocks. Not an issue from a technical standpoint although I tend to be slower on dirt but no one is PR’ing this course. The finish line as I said had an adorable arch. My finishing time was super slow but I survived. I was not worried about my time at all given the heat, humidity and hills. The good news is the half and full marathons have the same time limit (I think 6.5 hours?) so there is essentially no time concern on the half. So even if you have no hill training don’t worry just walk the hills and soak in the views. The medal is also adorable with a chicken and a barn and is nice sized. It is the best of my Vermont medals. I will admit the finish line festivities were a bit underwhelming. Some of my more recent races had whole meals at the finish. This just had some basic snacks. I did like that they had some more Vermont themed snacks like apple cider donuts, vermont cheddar cheese and some apple cider. Overall this was a well produced and beautiful race with nice swag but it was not a very enjoyable run with the hills, heat and humidity. If I compare this race to the other 2 Vermont races I’ve done (Shelbourne Half and Maple Leaf Half) I do think this had the best production and swag but the other 2 were much less hilly (though still quite hilly) and had better weather and are at times of the year with generally better weather. As long as having a slow race doesn’t bother you, I would recommend this one for Vermont and I would also definitely recommend it for walkers and back of the packers. I would absolutely never consider running this full marathon but I may come back for the half again since it’s nearby and just hope for better weather and hope they keep the cute farm animal swag.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    DisneyRunner FIRST-TIMER '23

    Wow. Out of the 29 marathons I've done so far, this is by far the hardest. The hills are no joke. I went into the race knowing it would be … MORE

    Wow. Out of the 29 marathons I’ve done so far, this is by far the hardest. The hills are no joke. I went into the race knowing it would be hilly, but I did not expect there to be so many and so steep. Also, it was very hot and humid this year, which made it even more difficult. On the positive side, it really is a beautiful course and there were plenty of water/Gatorade stations. I would recommend this race. Just be prepared for the hills.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    This course is hilly! I think another reviewer mentioned that they had done Big Sur prior and said that this course is hillier. That is 100% true. It's also July, … MORE

    This course is hilly! I think another reviewer mentioned that they had done Big Sur prior and said that this course is hillier. That is 100% true. It’s also July, so expect heat. I did not count on the high dew points and all those things together made this race super hard, but rewarding. Vermont and the Green Mountains are a pretty place to visit, so make a vacation out of it. PRs will be tough on this one.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    henrykat FIRST-TIMER '23

    I’m so glad I didn’t let the hills intimidate me from doing the Mad Half! The race really has the nicest vibe to it and the scenery can’t be beat. … MORE

    I’m so glad I didn’t let the hills intimidate me from doing the Mad Half! The race really has the nicest vibe to it and the scenery can’t be beat. I did NOT hill train and walked plenty of times, but then enjoyed some super speedy downhill stretches as well, and felt like a million bucks upon hearing the incredible announcer say my name as a I crossed and received my hug from Dori, the race organizer. 💗
    This part of Vermont is especially gorgeous and offers many a watering hole to plunge in to rinse off after- which I’ve never needed quite so badly after a race. 😆🥵
    If you’re running in all 50 states, I say this is the one to do in Vermont. 🤙🏻

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    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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