Lacking all the fun spring and summer races that we all like going to, RunVermont is proud to announce The RunVermont: Virtual Adventure. Seeing so many people out running, walking, and cycling on the bikepath right outside our office windows, we wanted to build a challenge to motivate you all to keep up your good fitness habits over the coming months. The RunVermont allows you to choose your challenge level – from 45 miles to traverse the southern part of Vermont to over 550 miles for a complete tour of the state.
If you chose the Southern Crossing, your route takes you from Bennington to Brattleboro, on Route 9 most of the way. Of course we don’t expect that you actually go to Route 9 to log your miles. You can run and walk from your house, or meet up with friends (please stay appropriately physcially distanced!!), hit your favorite trails, or log your miles on your treadmill. As long as it’s running or walking or hiking, your miles count. Sorry, no cycling or ellipticals (machines or bikes) or ergometers. Our route maps will help track your distance along whichever route you have chosen.
So… What if you were actually running from Bennington to Brattleboro, what would that be like? This route starts at the New York border, about 45 minutes east of Troy. The first 4 miles are beautiful farm land, and gently rolling. At mile 3, look off to your left if there are any breaks in the trees and you may be able to spot the Bennington Battle Monument, which sits just ¼ mile north of Route 9. Just before mile 4, you will start to feel that you're moving into the town of Bennington. Bennington is the 6th largest municipality in the state of Vermont, smaller than Burlington, Rutland, South Burlington, Essex, and Colchester, but larger than all other cities and towns. The center of Bennington is the intersection of routes 9 and 7, no doubt one of the busiest intersections in the state. Enjoy the next couple of miles, but make sure you have plenty of gas in the tank.
About 6 miles into this route the roads turns upwards for a long climb. Over the next 8 miles, the runner gains around 1600’ of elevation on the way to, and past, Woodford. It’s a long grinding climb, mostly not too steep but the 3 miles leading up to the Prospect Mountain Ski area have some very steep sections. A decade ago I was coaching the St Michael’s College Nordic Ski team. We used to race at Prospect every winter, and I always used to crack up when driving up to Prospect from Bennington because on at least one of the yellow road signs that warns that there may be rock slides in the area, someone had put a sticker of a dinosaur pushing the rock off the cliff.
Once past Woodford, this route mellows out for about 17 miles. It’s still rolling, for sure, with a few good climbs and descents. But on the whole, it stays in the 1500’-2300’ of elevation range and it’s a nice run through Searsburg and Wilmington. The Harriman Reservoir is on your right at the 23 mile mark. This is such beautiful country to run through, largely comprised of mountain forests.
Just before mile 30 of this route, the real fun starts. On your right will be the former Hogback Mountain ski area. Lift-served skiing operated on Hogback from about 1940 through 1986, and today the Vermont Land Trust maintains trails for hiking and back-country skiing. It’s easy to see the basic shape of the old base area as you run past on your way to Brattleboro.
For the next 10 miles, Route 9 is almost all downhill. The runner will drop about 1600’ on the way to West Brattleboro. The last 5 miles is through Brattleboro, Vermont’s most populous municipality on its eastern border. Route 9 ends at Route 5, a.k.a. Main St in Brattleboro, but to complete The RunVermont Southern Crossing the runner will run a few hundred yards south on Main St and turn left on Bridge St to finish at the New Hampshire border.
If you’ve chosen The RunVermont Southern Crossing, we hope you’ll enjoy your virtual journey from Bennington to Brattleboro. We hope that the 45 miles inspires you to keep getting out the door running and walking this summer.
To register for The RunVermont Virtual Adventure, go to: https://runsignup.com/Race/VT/AnywhereYoudLike/TheRunVermontVirtualAdventure