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2021 Clarence DeMar 5k Race Recap

Thanks to all who celebrated Independence Day with the first restriction-free GMAA race since the start of the pandemic! The 39th Annual (held virtually in 2020) Clarence DeMar 5k was held on an uncharacteristically cool morning, a perfect day to share the roads of South Hero with our long lost running friends. 

Very special guest, “Papa” Ray Allen, former UVM (‘59) cross country and track standout and the reason behind the inaugural running of this race back in 1983, served as the official starter of this year’s race. After some reminiscing on Clarence Demar, the race’s namesake, former resident of South Hero, UVM alumni (‘11), who later went on to infamously win 7 Boston Marathons, the nearly 300 racers were off in a blur of red, white, and blue. The out and back course passes DeMar’s former home as well as “Papa” Ray’s Allenholm Farm, twice.

Adron Pitmon, former MMU high school standout, won the men’s field with a time of 15:59.3 and Jennifer Sober, making the trip all the way from Jupiter, Florida, doubled as open and masters champion in 18:08.3. A fierce battle ensued for top 50-59 competitors with Francis Burdett edging out age group rivals Josh Brown and Dale Flanders for 9th, 10th, and 11th overall. All three, notably, ahead of this author’s husband and 40-49 age group winner, Eli Enman. Many thanks to race sponsors, generous raffle donators, volunteers, and racers.

Race Results: http://802timing.com/results/21results/runresults/7.4.21overallclarence.htm#M

Race Photos (credit Rob Swanson & Chris Kline): https://runsignup.com/Race/Photos/Location/Photos3/VT/SouthHero/ClarenceDeMarRoadRace

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Photo credit: Rob Swanson
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2021 Solstice Run Recap

After a few years of being lost on the calendar the race formerly known as the Equinox Trail Run was renamed the Solstice Trail Run, and not to disappoint, was also moved to the Fall Equinox under its original name. The best of both worlds! Are you confused yet? So it was that the 1st Annual, GMAA Solstice Trail Run 5k & 10k races were held on a beautiful summer day along the fields, single track and old sugar-wood roads of the Keenan Family’s homestead in Charlotte, Vermont. As usual, the race brought out a full range of participants, from kids to grandparents, gnarly veterans to newbies, and everyone in between. In fact, the first finisher overall in the 5k was 16 year old Avery Smart of Montpelier with a sizable lead over the next across the line. The traditional firing up of the bbq and post-race potluck had to wait until the fall edition of the race, due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, but everyone still left with a smile after a fun and challenging run.


Race Results: https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/107205#resultSetId-259394;perpage:100

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Photo credit: Chris Kline Productions
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2020 Turkey Trot Report!

The 2020 GMAA Turkey Trot was a bit different than in years past.  Well, we didn’t really have a Turkey Trot.  But then, we sort of did.  We met outside of Gutterson Field House, collected food and cash donations for Feeding Chittenden and an estimated 100 people did show up to run the course (unmarked and unsupported; appropriately distanced, we’re told) after dropping off their donations.  In-person collections happened from 9:00 until 11:00 while online monetary donations took place over the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  A big thanks to the Law Offices of Bauer Gravel & Farnham who gave a matching grant of $1,000.  The food donations totaled 715 pounds (the biggest collection for us in a few years) and the monetary donations totaled $3,117.56 (equally impressive given the current economy).  In addition to those running the course, many more came with their donation before or after doing their own run elsewhere.  The weather was mild with light, intermittent rain.

Had the race actually been held, we’re confident that this would have been how it unfolded:

Anne Treadwell of Burlington lead the pack for most of the race with returning champ Adrienne Brueckner of Swanton close at her heels.  Despite slipping rounding the last turn on the golf course, Anne was able to hold Adrienne at bay and crossed the finish line in 20:24.  Erin Randall of Colchester was a strong contender and actually finished just behind Anne, almost half a minute before Adrienne.  However, post-race tests showed that, at some point during the race, Luna shared her dog treats with Erin in violation of GMAA and USATF anti-doping policies.  Accordingly, Erin was disqualified and Adrienne’s 21:03 earned her a silver medal to compliment last year’s gold.

On the men’s side, Binney Mitchell of Burlington and Allen Mead of Hinesburg had what could only be described as a cage match (or, rather, would be considered a cage match but GMAA bylaws demand that all races be cage-free).  Neck-in-neck for the entire race, the two approached the final stretch with the race clock reading 16:55.  Much to Binney’s eternal shame, his father, Peter Mitchell of Jericho, leading the 80-89 age group, blew past both Binney and Allen, finishing the race in 17:04.  Allen finished second in 17:06.  At the time of this writing, Binney still hasn’t finished the race and is reportedly still laying on the course sobbing inconsolably where he got passed by his old man.

Had there been a race, we’re confident that all past volunteers would have done so again and we thank them for their unquestionable good intentions. 

See below pictures of Tom and Howard forgetting the race was cancelled and wondering where all the runners were and Tom and Howard with the donated food.

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Malcolm’s Memorial 5K

In May of this year, the Vermont running community lost Malcolm Plunkett a star runner and record holder for many Vermont high school events. GMAA Race Director Matt Solomon along with friends Brendan Copley and Olivia Plunkett have collaboratively organized a virtual 5K event in memory of Malcolm Plunkett:

What better way to celebrate Malcolm’s life than with an event that brings together the running community of Vermont and raises funds to help queer folx thrive and/or helps folx recover from addiction.

Here are some details:
What: A virtual 5K XC challenge.
When: The first weekend of August (1 & 2).
Why: We want to celebrate Malcolm’s life by joining together, running hard, and supporting a good cause.

How: Since the event is virtual, we encourage you to find your favorite local XC course (NO TRACKS) and post up your best possible 5K time. If you are in Vermont, we encourage you to revisit some staple VTXC courses. We are working with HS coaches around the area to make sure the courses are available that weekend. If you’re not in VT, run your favorite 5K course wherever you are.

Registration for the event is free; however, if you can and feel compelled, we encourage you to donate any number of the following organizations on behalf of Malcolm: Odyssey House, Inc.The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and/or donate to next year’s event with the goal of an annual (and in-person) event.

More info here:
runreg.com/memory-of-malcolm-xc-5k

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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: https://fundraise.vtfoodbank.org/gmaa

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