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Green Mountain Marathon Update

Dear Runners,

I’m very sorry to report that the GMAA Board has decided to cancel our Green Mountain Marathon for 2020. I realize this comes after a long string of other cancellations and we all regret the decision and share the disappointment. But we did not feel comfortable holding an event of this nature given the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mission is to promote the health and fitness of our members and our community. And the best way to do that right now (and for the foreseeable future) is to continue social distancing and avoiding large group gatherings. 

All pre-registered runners will receive another email in the coming days with options for handling their registration fees.

As our flagship event, the Green Mountain Marathon has traditionally been a breadwinner for the Club, and has helped fund some of our other events and charitable donations. Luckily the Club is in good standing financially thanks to a long history of prudent management and low operating costs. We will be in a good position to start holding races again when it is deemed safe to do so. But many of our neighbors are in very difficult situations. Unemployment is still at record high levels and too many Vermonters are facing food insecurity. If you are able to, please consider making a donation to your local food shelf or the Vermont Foodbank. Any amount helps.

I have created a GMAA fundraising team for the VT Foodbank. Please join me in a friendly fundraising competition and see how many meals we can provide to those in need. I’ve set an initial goal of $5,000. Let’s smash that goal together! Go to:

Please stay healthy and keep looking out for each other. 

Warm regards,
Nik Ponzio
Board President

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GMAA announces 2020 Scholarship winners!

The GMAA will award three scholarships of $1,000 each to three graduating seniors to help fund their college careers.    The three winners were chosen among many applicants, and were determined based on their academic achievements, community and school involvement, and their love of the sport of running.

The winners are:

Emma Chadwick recently graduated from Essex High School, and will attend M.I.T. to major in aerospace engineering.  Emma was very active in high school, competing in cross-country, Nordic skiing, and track for all four years.  She also earned numerous academic honors, as well as held leadership positions throughout her high school career.  Emma has been involved in running since the 3rd grade, and writes that running “instilled a love for working hard, [and] for setting and achieving goals.”

Wondu Summa is another Burlington graduate, and will attend Franklin Pierce University this fall.  Wondu competed for BHS for all four years, and will continue competing when he enrolls at Franklin Pierce.  Wondu has also earned recognition for citizenship, has volunteered for other events at BHS and other Burlington schools, and is known by his neighbors to help them out with projects whenever he sees them working.  Wondu’s running career has helped him become more creative at school, and has really enjoyed learning.  He writes: “running has taught me so much, both on and off the trails.”

Isabelle Vivanco is a Burlington High School Graduate and will attend Smith College this fall.  She will likely choose a major in public health, library science, or education, and will also compete for Smith’s varsity cross-country team.  Isabelle participated in cross-country, Nordic skiing, and track, and was Burlington’s top runner.  Isabelle also volunteered generously for various activities within BHS and for the city of Burlington.  Isabelle says that running has taught her to be “mentally and physically tough in the face of challenges”, and finds her teams and the community of runners to be “endlessly supportive, inclusive, and inspiring”.

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New Race Registrations On Hold Due To COVID19

As I’m sure you can imagine, this has been a very difficult season to do any kind of event planning. We were forced to cancel our first two club races of the year, and our May race, Pump it Up, will be a virtual event only. But there has been some good news from the State of Vermont this week. The number of new cases of COVID19 has been decreasing. We are hopeful that this trend will continue and the Stay Home order will be lifted on May 15th. If that’s the case and the Governor allows social gatherings of this type, our summer and fall events should be able to go ahead as scheduled. That being said, we can not guarantee anything at this point and don’t have any clear guidance from the government yet.

Our priority is always the health and safety of our runners, our volunteers, and our community. In light of all the uncertainty, the GMAA Board of Directors has decided to freeze all new registrations for our upcoming GMAA events for this year. If do we need to cancel or postpone any events, pre-registered runners will receive further communications from the race directors at that time. We are hopeful that this won’t be necessary.

As runners ourselves, we recognize the difficulty in planning a training schedule around races that may or may not happen. So please trust that we will do our very best to provide you with as much notice as possible.
We will be in touch with you as more information becomes available and our summer schedule is solidified.

Thank you for patience and for all your support. Please stay healthy, keep running, and keep in touch.

Nik Ponzio
Board President

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Strava Segment Challenge #1 Results

Final* results for the first weekly challenge, on the Ti Mile, are in. Congrats to Karen Oppenheimer and Chase Weaver as the first two winners. Scoring was based on time for the segment relative to their previous best mile time on Strava, and they both claimed victory by setting new Strava mile PRs on the segment!

Perfectly fitting for the ‘Ti Mile’, the overall segment Course Record for men is now a THREE-WAY TIE at 5:12 between Chase, Blake Ressler and Dan Ray. I hope that we can get a non-virtual mile race between them soon! On the women’s side, Maddy Pfeifer crushed it with a 5:44.

You can still join in on the virtual competition, as the Week 2 Challenge is already posted! You just need to be a GMAA member and create a Strava account to participate. Please contact if you have any questions.

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Virtual Strava Segment Challenge!

Fellow Runners,

We’re all trying to figure out how to balance staying healthy and limiting the spread of COVID, while maintaining our fitness (and sanity). Fortunately for runners, running [1] is still encouraged within reason, and with a safe distance between people.

Since our spring races have been canceled, we thought that we’d put together some virtual challenges to give you some motivation to push yourself.

Starting this week — we’re announcing the Strava GMAA Segment Challenge! To participate, you’ll need a (free) Strava account. You’ll then need to join the GMAA Segment Challenge Strava club. Information is in the first post within the club, and copied below if you want to review before committing [2].

Spoiler: this week’s challenge segment is the Ti Mile in Shelburne! You have until the following Friday to complete the segment and have a chance at winning the weekly prize!


1) You must be a current GMAA member. Join or renew your membership HERE.
2) You’ll need a GPS watch that syncs to Strava, or use the (free) Strava app on your phone, to participate.
3) Scoring will be done by looking at the Segment Leaderboard on Strava each week filtered to this club.
4) The “Weekly Challenge Segment” will be announced on Thursday evening. You have until the *following Friday at 11:59 PM* to run the segment as many times as you’d like.
5) The organizers will do their best to select a segment that is safe, with no stop signs or dangerous road crossings. However it is your responsibility as a runner to be aware of your surroundings including traffic and other runners.
6) Scoring will not (always) be your traditional ‘fastest time’. The actual method to determine a winner will be announced along with the Segment Challenge each week.

If you have questions or want to check your GMAA membership status, please send a message to

Possible examples include:

– Runner who completes the segment fastest relative to their 5k PR
– Runner who has the greatest improvement in performance on the segment over the week
– Runner who completes segment the most times in the week

[1] Don’t overdo the running and get injured. This is also a good time to get out on a bike!

[2] IMPORTANT: you are responsible for your own safety, and that of others around you. Make reasonable choices about when to run, and keep your eyes on traffic and others even when competing on a Segment.

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Helping In Time Of Covid

Every single one of us is being affected by this pandemic in large ways and small ways and in some ways that we might not fully understand for years to come. But what is clear is that the most vulnerable members of our community will suffer the most. In light of this, the GMAA Board of Directors would like to announce the launch of our brand new e-commerce store in conjunction with a fundraiser.

For the rest of the month of April, the club will donate 200% of all proceeds from online sales to the Vermont Foodbank.

Please head over to our shop at to check out our latest apparel options and place an order today! All prices include tax and shipping. Items will be mailed out once a week. Any questions can be directed to

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Stay Safe

Hey Runners!

I hope you’re all staying healthy during this difficult time. One thing that really helps me is to remember that it will end, we will get through this. It might be weeks or months but we will endure and emerge a stronger community.
The Board has some exciting news to share with you all about a new launch this week. Please check our channels Monday morning to learn more. 

In the meantime, I want to amplify and expand on Coach Allen’s not-so-gentle reminders about how to stay safe and limit the spread of the coronavirus in our community:

  1. Stay home
  2. Avoid groups 
  3. Cover up

Exercise is critical for mental health and maintaining our immune system, but GMAA does not recommend running in groups or in crowded areas during this pandemic. The Burlington Bike Path has gotten especially crowded lately and the 6-foot radius between people may not be possible or even sufficient if we are running and breathing heavily. 

The CDC is now recommending that we wear cloth masks in public. Here’s a video from the Surgeon General demonstrating how easy it is to make one from an old t-shirt (finally a good use for all those race shirts we never wear!)

Let’s see your race mask! Tag us on your social media posts and show the world how we are staying happy, healthy and fit and helping to fight this disease.  And when you are out in public, please remember that you are an ambassador of the sport and of our club so give everyone else out there plenty of room and respect. We’re all in this together!

Be well and stay safe!

Nik Ponzio
Board President