I grew up in a small rural town in Central Vermont. To this day, there are only two roads which are paved, leaving close to 80 miles which are still unpaved – and hilly!

Now, depending on where you are from, the word “hill” can invoke many different reactions. When I ran my first Boston Marathon, I was surprised to find that when I got to the Heartbreak Hill section, the hills were tame to the ones I was used to running on back home. But it isn’t always about how steep or long the hill is; it’s about where it is placed!

This brings me to the Vermont City Marathon and its famed hill section know as Battery Street, or the “Assault on Battery Street!” A hill is in the eye of the beholder and it’s not how long or steep Battery Street is, it’s where it comes in the race: Mile 15. If you examine the course map and profile, you will notice that Battery Street Hill isn’t all that long (I believe the course description mentions it being about 6 blocks) and the climb isn’t much more than 125 feet over that span. However, having this hill at mile 15 puts some runners into panic mode thinking they might burn up a lot of fuel getting up and over it. My suggestion would be to take a fuel gel between mile 14 and Battery Street so that you have a little zing of energy before attacking the hill. Also, keep your stride compact and use your arm swing to help propel you up the hill, too.

Battery Street also happens to be one of the best places to get encouragement from the crowd of spectators; they line the entire hill almost carrying you up with their screaming enthusiasm! The Taiko Drummers are at the base of the hill and set a great beat to get you psyched for the climb!

The best thing to know is that once you have crested Battery Street you are done with the hills and all you have to look forward to are the flat (relatively speaking), friendly neighborhoods and bike paths of the North End of Burlington!

You have got this!

Coach Sam