Runners Roundup October 20

by Jim Flint

Local Runners Go the Distance at Fall Endurance Events

photo by Natalie Gentry | Dot Helling, 71, is the dean of northern Vermont women distance runners. The Adamant senior finished Sunday’s Green Mountain Marathon in four hours, 21 minutes, and 49 seconds. She placed 35th of 73 women at the 26.2-mile race in South Hero and won the F70-79 age group.

SOUTH HERO ‒ A cohort of local seniors reached new milestones Sunday competing at the Green Mountain Marathon and Half Marathon. Dot Helling, Manny Sainz, Tim Hogeboom, and Elizabeth McCarthy proved that age is not a barrier in long-distance running. The fit and well-trained seniors kept pace with younger runners. 

The out-and-back marathon and half marathon courses started and finished near the house where Clarence H. DeMar once lived. DeMar overcame economic hardship to enroll at the University of Vermont. He went on to win the Boston Marathon in 1911, 1922-1924, and 1926-1928. Demar was also the bronze medal winner in the marathon at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Green Mountain Marathon runners ran two laps of the half marathon course. The gently rolling rural route went along the west shore of South Hero and Grand Isle. Weather conditions were variable, with a mix of sunshine, a few sprinkles, and light winds coming off Lake Champlain.

Dot Helling, 71, of Adamant last raced 26.2 miles at the 2019 Green Mountain Marathon. Two years ago, she went the distance in four hours, 14 minutes, and five seconds. She went into this year’s race feeling wary of the course change from dirt roads to paved roads. 

Helling completed the first half of the marathon in 2:06:32, which was close to her 2019 pace. Her legs started to cramp up in the last mile of the race. After a brief stretch break, she went on to finish in 4:21:49. Her average pace for the marathon was ten minutes per mile. She placed 35th of 73 women and won the F70-79 age group. 

Manny Sainz, 65, of Marshfield also ran the Green Mountain Marathon in 2019. He finished the 2019 race in 4:09:42.

Sainz ran the first half of Sunday’s marathon in 2:01:36. He hung on to finish the race in 4:40:56, which was the second-fastest time for the M60-69 age group.

“My body stopped running at mile 18,” said Sainz. “I didn’t have lactic acid buildup or any injuries but could only jog the remaining eight miles. I’m still excited I ran it and finished without any injuries.”

Tim Hogeboom, 70, of Walden was the fastest half marathoner from the towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. Hogeboom paced at 8:49 per mile to finish in 1:55:27. He won the M70-79 age group. 

“I didn’t have high expectations at the start and wasn’t feeling energized,” Hogeboom said. “My legs had been sore most of the previous week from a hike up Mt. Lafayette in the White Mountains. I was frankly surprised and delighted to win my age group. My time was just 12 seconds slower than my 2012 Green Mountain Half Marathon time.”

Elizabeth McCarthy, 68, of Walden, placed sixth of 15 finishers in the F60-69 age group. Her time was 2:16:58. 

“I tried a different strategy, going out slow then just finding an easy pace the rest of the way,” said McCarthy. “I was able to keep going without walking as I did in the Leaf Peepers race. In 2012, I finished the Green Mountain Half Marathon in 2:27:27. So, getting older doesn’t mean slower.”

Jessica Caldwell, 26, of Wolcott rounded out the half marathon finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. She placed 31st of 123 female half marathoners. Her time was 1:58:57. 

Craftsbury Runners Conquer Hills and Trails

STOWE ‒ The allure of fall foliage attracted a huge field of runners on Saturday. The Trapp Lodge Mountain Marathon had 81 finishers, while 307 runners completed the concurrent half marathon. Weather conditions were unusually warm, wet, and windy. The rugged 13.1-mile course started from around 1,400 feet and climbed to the 2,360-foot summit of Round Top Mountain. Marathoners made the ascent and descent twice. 

Craftsbury’s Kaitlyn Miller, 30, was unfazed by the steep scrambling segments on the serpentine trails. She completed the marathon in 4:06:40 to place runner-up in the women’s division and seventh overall. 

Miller’s Craftsbury Green Racing Project teammate, Alex Howe, also ran the marathon. Howe, 32, placed 19th in 4:47:27. 

“The course was well marked and the aid stations well stocked,” Miller said. “All the volunteers were super friendly, helpful, and encouraging. The rugged section of trail up to Roundtop behind the Slayton Pasture Cabin was probably my favorite part!”

Lucy Donaghy, 38, of Craftsbury, went into the challenging race having trained for a flat marathon. Her goal was to run a smart race and finish faster than she did in 2018. She started in the first wave of half marathoners, which was stacked with the speediest runners. Her finish time of 2:11:59 placed in the top 25 percent of the half marathon field.  

“I can honestly say that I struggled from the start,” said Donaghy. “I realized that if I wanted to finish with dignity, I needed to do a quick adjustment of expectations. I felt like I ran a very conservative race. I allowed myself to slow down when I couldn’t drop my heart rate. I ended up running 16 minutes faster than I did in 2018.”

Michael Chartrand, 37, of East Calais rounded out the half marathon finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. He placed 166th in a time of 2:35:11. 

Craftsbury Olympian Finishes Boston Marathon

BOSTON ‒ The Boston Marathon was held in the fall for the first time in its 125-year history. On October 11, some 18,000 athletes competed in the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

Local Olympian Ida Sargent, who trained for many years at Craftsbury, was among the participants. Sargent, who currently teaches at Burke Mountain Academy, qualified for Boston at the 2019 New York City Marathon, which she completed in 2:57:22.  

Sargent, 33, finished the Boston Marathon in 3:02:26. She completed the first half of the race in 1:27:15. Her time for the second half of the marathon, which includes Heartbreak Hill, was 1:35:11. Sargent averaged 6:58 per mile for the marathon. She placed 1,756th overall and 194th among women finishers.

Sargent’s friend and former U.S. Nordic teammate, Kikkan Randall, finished the Boston Marathon in 3:00:27. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins became the first-ever gold medal winners for the U.S. in cross-country skiing.