The hills were alive today, with the sound of footsteps. The Stowe Marathon runs right past the Trapp Family Lodge, high atop a pastoral crest overlooking Stowe Village and the adjacent Worcester Range. It’s a glimpse of the Austria right here in Vermont.
Of course, reaching the Trapp Family Lodge also signifies you’ve hit the crest of a very tough uphill climb. In fact, the ascent from mile 9 to mile 11 along the course was the steepest of any of the marathons thus far. Not that the other runners around me were complaining. This was a rugged group, and scarcely a grunt was heard (except mine) as we plodded upward.
The runners today hailed from Florida, California, New Jersey, Canada, and many of the neighboring New England states. We had several first-time marathoners in the group, one being a 17 year old who only recently took up running, along with many seasoned marathoners and ultramarathoners, some of the most accomplished in the group being the ladies (you go girls!). My friend from California was celebrating his birthday with this marathon (I couldn’t think of a better way to honor this day). Joining me for their sixth consecutive marathon were my “maniac” friends who started this journey togetherback in Connecticut.
Vermont is such a lovely place, and the Stowe Marathon course highlighted some of the most scenic places in the state, such as Lake Mansfield, Waterbury Creek, and the state’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield. At mile twenty the course passes through the town of Stowe and enters a popular footpath for the final stretch. There were people yelling and cheering throughout town, and one of the local coffee shops handed me a sack of freshly made chocolate covered espresso beans as we ran by.
The finish was alongside a rustling creek with one of Vermont’s historic covered bridges in thebackground. The runners came across steadily, and we vociferously welcomed each new arrival. A refreshing breeze ruffled the foliage and swirled golden autumn leaves across the neighboring meadow. All of the runners came in, and the first-time marathoners were extraordinarily solid.
I got to chasing Alexandria and Nicholas around, and we played some touch football with the guys fromthe Endurance 50 team, all of whom are remarkably gifted athletes. I always tell Nicholas to watch them closely, because dad will never throw a football like that.
In the middle of a particularly long play, some cheering erupted from the finish, and there coming around the final corner were the maniac’s, well ahead of their scheduled pace and looking fresh as could be. As tradition has it, Bekkie always cartwheels through the finish line…at least she has on the past five marathons. Would she have enough energy left to do it one last time? All eyes were focused on the pair, and away she went, flawlessly executing her final victory twirl. For this final act of bravado, I brokeout the chocolate covered espresso beans in celebration.
I’m leaving New England feeling charged, and ready to run another day. The fond memories of the country and the people will carry me far…
Always the best,
Dean & Family