Going the Extra Mile
Going the Extra Mile
Many Vermonters possess a spirit of adventure and a love for the great outdoors. As soon as the snow melts, skiers and boarders transform into hikers, runners, and bikers. Perhaps it’s the feeling of wind in our faces or nature at our side that keeps us looking for more. Here in Southern Vermont, we are lucky to have a wide range of fun competitions and fundraisers throughout the area that allow us to join in the activities. What’s even better is that these athletic events are for all skill levels and most are family friendly, offering the perfect opportunity for family time. Inspire each other to excel and participate to benefit a good cause, but most important, have fun!
Start the season with the annual West River Trail Run. This race offers three options. Take on the full challenge with the competitive, 11-mile run for individuals, or find some teammates to take on the course as a 3-legged relay team. Another option would be to choose to run, jog, or walk the 5k Fun Run. With so many options offered at one event, everyone can find a way to participate and experience the West River, including the surrounding campgrounds and historic railroad tracks.
The Susan G. Komen, More than Pink Walk held on July 20 at Riley Rink at Hunter Park is another event with multiple options for runners/walkers of all ages. This walk raises funds to help fight the battle against breast cancer, with the foundation’s ultimate goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the United States by 2026. Come join others in the community to continue the ongoing support.
Many families prefer to include their tail-wagging companions, who usually love to run even more than we do. Stratton Mountain Resort has kept Fido in mind so your family dog doesn’t feel left out. Hosting both the Running of the Bears 5k and the Heels to Paws 5k, Stratton welcomes the entire family to walk, skip, run, and jump throughout the grounds.
With the sweeping roads of Vermont traversing the rolling Green Mountains, bikers also find their paradise here in Manchester. Gather the family bicycles or rent them at one of several shops around the area because two popular events are returning to town. On June 29, Grace Cottage Family Health and Hospital hosts its annual family-friendly cruise from Stratton to Townshend, which not only raises funds, but also encourages friendships. This 19-mile course is mostly downhill and will have you riding through woods, over rivers, across bridges, and even over the Townshend Dam. Helmets are required and they also offer the option for rental bikes with advanced request. Another event that will have you pedaling around is the ever-popular Vermont Challenge. This challenge tests your endurance, providing tours of Southern Vermont and offering different rides on each of the four days. There are numerous grouping options for difficulty and pace. Find yourself cruising the winding roads of Southern Vermont with a group of equally skilled riders, touring the countryside, taking in the sights, and stopping at local purveyors.
For all you avid hikers out there, worry not because there are plenty of events catered just for you as well! On June 16, join the Green Mountain Club to hike the Long Trail from Harmon Hill to Glastenbury Mountain for the Bennington Section Hike. During the hike, join others in providing care to the Nauheim shelter on Maple Hill and the Goddard Shelter on Glastenbury Mountain. Another option for a guided hike is at Merck Forest. Each second Saturday of the month throughout the summer, the staff will guide you along a moderately difficult hike and explain which trees are growing in the area and different ways to identify them. Last, look to the Dorset Historical Society, which has various hikes scheduled this summer touring three historically rich locations with the Gettysburg Quarry, the Feedly Quarry, and the Folsom Quarry. So, tighten up those hiking boots and get ready for an adventure! Raise your endorphins, get closer to nature, and challenge yourself in Southern Vermont.
June 1: Annual West River Trail Run
This fundraiser, benefiting The Collaborative’s longstanding programs such as the Afterschool Program, Summer Camp, and Refuse to Use Program, starts at the South Londonderry Depot and ends at Jamaica State Park. If you aren’t looking to run but still want to help, they also offer volunteer opportunities at the registration table and water stations. Choose between and 3-legged relay option, a walking start time, and a 5k Fun Run as well as the competitive, unofficially timed, 11-mile run for individual runners. Dogs aren’t allowed but if you wish to run with a stroller, the 5k or the first leg of the race is recommended. Find out more at thecollaborative.us/westrivertrailrun.
June 29: Tour de Grace Bicycle Rally
Navigate the terrain covering 19 miles, starting off from Stratton Mountain Resort and ending in Townshend at Grace Cottage Hospital. Helmets are required and the rally is open to anyone who knows how to ride a bike. Bike rentals are available with advanced reservation. This fundraiser benefits Grace Cottage Family Health and Hospital. Riders have the option to park at the finish and ride a shuttle to the start at Stratton Mountain, but be sure to call ahead to confirm availability! https://gracecottage.org/get-involved/tour-de-grace-bicycle-rally/
July 7 and September 2: Stratton Mountain Resort Running of the Bears 5k
This fun run follows a 5k trail that winds throughout Stratton Resort. It starts at 9am and is open to the entire family, including any family dogs that love to run as well. While it is a fun run and there is no requirement for pace or time, they are offering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall places for each male and female runners, in four separate age groups. stratton.com
July 20: Komen VT More than Pink Walk
The event begins at 9am with a Procession of Hope for Survivors and those living with Metastatic Breast Cancer as well as an opening ceremony leading into the walk that kicks off at 9:15. After, everyone is invited to join the party at the Northshire Civic Center. Find more info at https://newengland.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/HAR_NewEngland?pg=entry&fr_id=7496
July 21: Heels to Paws 5k
This fun run that benefits Second Chance Animal Center welcomes everyone in the family, especially your furry family dog! With registration from 8:45–9:15am, the race will begin at 9:30am and consists of a 5k journey traveling around the grounds of Stratton Mountain. Walk, jog, or run, but be sure to bring a leash to ensure the safety of everyone involved. stratton.com
August 15–18: The Vermont Challenge
The Vermont Challenge is a four-day tour with each day offering three routes of varying distances, along with each route having two ride leaders who will take the groups out at different paces. Tour the winding hills of Vermont with a group of bicyclists all within the same riding level, as you discover new sites, stop and eat at new purveyors, and make new friends. At the end of each day’s tour, they will once again be offering farm-to-table lunches. https://www.vtchallenge.com/
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