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Running in May - The Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Woodstock and Quechee.

May 13th, 2000 saw the ninth running of the event. It was overcast and cool as it often is at this time of year in Vermont.

There are several good locations for picture takers and if you are parked in Woodstock's free lot, you can be at the right spot, in advance, to take at least three shots of your favourite runner. Don't go to the starting point at the Suicide Six Ski area - you'll never get out!

  • My first choice location is Woodstock's iron bridge. Here you can take pictures of runners coming in from Suicide Six and turning onto River Street for a circuit through Woodstock. You can also catch them going the opposite direction as they cross the bridge from Elm Street and head up a small incline.
  • Woodstock's covered bridge, opposite the Green or in the centre of town on the corner of Main and Elm, is my second location.  I have frequently run here from the iron bridge and made it in time to see the same runners.
Runners in the covered bridges half marathon leave Woodstock Runners in the covered bridges half marathon leave Woodstock
Runners in the covered bridges half marathon leave Woodstock Runners in the covered bridges half marathon leave Woodstock

Woodstock's Iron Bridge - See the runners on the other side of the road?

My third location is outside Taftsville, just before the Taftsville covered bridge. It takes contestans a good 25 minutes to reach this point from Woodstock, so you even have time to set up with a tripod on Route 4 just before the bridge. (There are several parking spaces beside the road). As you can see it's quite the scenic route along the banks of the Ottauquehcee River!  River Road is a popular bike ride for area visitors.

A peaceful fishing scene with marathon runners in the background A peaceful fishing scene with marathon runners in the background
A peaceful fishing scene with marathon runners in the background A peaceful fishing scene with marathon runners in the background

Early May also offers good fishing on the Ottauquechee River!

From this point on in the race it is kind of tough on the runners. The terrain is a bit hilly. You have ample time to hop into the car again and make the Finish line. Head east on Route 4. Do not turn left in Quechee. Wait unti you are well passed the Quechee Gorge and at the Fat Hat Factory. Turn here and head down to the Quechee Polo field. You'll find this is where everyone parks. There is a small parking fee.  The finish area is somewhat of a circus with a massage tent, lots of food and beverages along with T-shirts for the runners.

The Finish at the 9th Annual Covered Bridges Half Marathon

 

The 9th Covered Bridges Marathon was won by 39 year old Sam Davis of Colchester, VT with a time of 1.11.03.  Jason Porter, 30,  of Williston was a close second with a time of 1.11.41. Ellen O'Neil, 35, of Hanover, NH was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 1:21:18. Jessica Blake, 22, of Middlebury, came in second with a time of  1:23:41. The record for the 13.1 miles is held by Seth McClennan, who did it in 1:07:06 back in 1995.  

Trying to keep a cap on the traffic is one of the reasons why the organizers of this event keep the number of entrants to 2,200. Applications to run had to be in by early February, three months before the big day. Traffic is the reason why 40-buses are used to take the contestants from from the finishing line at the Quechee polo field to their starting point -- the Suicide Six ski area, a couple of mile outside Woodstock.

Timothy Palmer-Benson - Scenes of Vermont

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