Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)  (1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3
The Maple Leaf Half Marathon traverses truly gorgeous Vermont landscapes. Your run will take you from the downtown community to picturesque village settings to country roads past farm lands back to the finish. Adding to the beauty, Vermont will be in the early stages of fall foliage. The Maple Leaf … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This race is located in Southern Vermont right across the NY state border so it's a pretty convenient race for me. I was looking to run 2 half marathons this … MORE

    This race is located in Southern Vermont right across the NY state border so it’s a pretty convenient race for me. I was looking to run 2 half marathons this weekend in lieu of the traditional 20 mile training run in preparation for my upcoming marathon since I don’t really do long runs any more just races. This seemed to be the most convenient race to do before the one I had planned in RI on Sunday. Manchester Vermont is about a 4 hour drive straight East of Rochester. If you run this race, I recommend booking lodging early. I have been waiting about 1 to 2 months before races to book hotels given the uncertainty of things and had very limited options. Pretty much either a cheap motel or a very expensive bed and breakfast. Went the cheaper route which was fine since this was an in and out trip but would have liked a nicer room. There is race day packet pick-up which is great since it’s a Saturday race. The race starts in a park. There is easy parking and packet pick-up was also easy. Packet included bib and technical shirt. The shirt was a nice, red short sleeved shirt. The race started in the park and had a different start and finish and had timing mats at both the start and finish. There is a 5K and a half marathon that start at the same time. This is a mid sized race. This year it was capped at 400 but I don’t think there is usually a lot more than that. This is a nice number to make the race not stressful but also generally be running with people. It was a mass start. The course is mostly a loop through some of the streets around Manchester. Like pretty much all Vermont races, it is very scenic and very hilly. It was nice to do a half that wasn’t just an out and back. The course goes through the charming little downtown, then some mountain and farm views. There were also some cool sites along the course including going past a sculpture garden and my favorite part when we ran right past a petting zoo. I did not actually stop to pet the animals as tempting as it was but they were right by the course and I walked over and said hi and took pictures of the animals lol. I should mention I wasn’t taking this race too seriously since this was the hillier of the doubles so I took it pretty casually. The hills were pretty tough. There was over 800 ft of elevation gain. Not quite the hilliest half I’ve done but it was up there. It was mostly ups and downs but mile 8 to 9 is pretty much all up one giant hill and it’s a slog. The last 4 miles are great though and mostly downhill which is why I rated difficulty 4 not 5 sneakers since the end was nice. Also the weather was absolutely perfect. The course was pretty well marked. There were course marshalls at all the most important intersections but there were a few spots I thought could have used a volunteer and there was one spot I thought could have used a sign. The course was open to traffic. Some of the streets were on the busier side. I was never in danger but I did think there could be cones or signs or something to make it safer and/or give us more space to run. There were mile markers and frequent aid stations. There was no on-course nutrition but this was communicated. I also didn’t see any bathrooms on the course. They said there would be some around the half way point. Maybe I missed them but I had to go and had to wait until I got to the finish line. Finish line is nice with announcer and arch and clock. At the end you get your medal. The medal is okay. It is a wedge and the medals for 2020 (which was virtual), 2021 and 2022 connect. On it’s own it’s not that special and on the smaller side but it does have a nice covered wagon design that is very “Vermonty”. This is a pretty cheap half marathon though so the medal and shirt are fine for the price. My finishing time was okay. I took this race easy and just wanted to run under 3 hours and I did that. I probably could have broke 2:45 if I spent less time looking at the animals at the petting zoo but what’s the fun in that. At the end they had typical race food including bagels, fruit and chips. They also had an ice cream truck where you could buy treats and they were giving samples of a drink called “Tost” which is non-alcoholic champagne alternative. The Tost was good I am going to buy some for New Years. After the race I got a delicious vegan tofu banh mi and an oatmilk latte from Bonnet and Main in the downtown area. The downtown is cute but I had to head to my next destination. Overall this was a very good race. I wouldn’t call it a “must run” but it’s a good choice for Vermont. I wouldn’t go out of my way for this race but it’s on my way to NH and other New England destinations so I’ll likely end up running it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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