The Twenty-eighth TD Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon, New England's biggest cross-country ski event, has switched format this year, with one or two laps to be skied over a scenic twenty five kilometer loop course.
After several seasons utilizing a point-to-point fifty kilometer course, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center has designed a twenty-five kilometer loop starting and finishing on Craftsbury Common. By offering a shorter loop course with the option of one or two laps, the hope is to reduce the “carbon footprint” while improving the efficiency of the entire event.
The Craftsbury Marathon has become known as the quintessential New England ski marathon. The 50km event wound through farm pastures, sugar bushes, and evergreen stands. The course passed through Craftsbury Village and finished on the historic Craftsbury common. The switch to the loop format provides numerous advantages in relation to cost, efficiency, and environmental impact, but it is sad to see the end of the point-to-point course which mirrored many of the traditional Scandanavian events. With the Great Glenn to Bretton Woods Marathon ending its run two years ago, the number of point-to-point classic races in the country has taken a significant hit.
The new twenty-five kilometer circuit passes four different times through the Outdoor Center where all of the on-course amenities are found. The “spoke and hub” course makes use of the Center's most popular trails including Grand Tour, Lake Loop, Windridge Trail, Ruthie's Run, and Sam's Run returning after each spoke to the central hub where local restaurant sponsors will situate to provision the event's food tables.
The Center will be truly a hub of activities for the one thousand expected participants and crowds of spectators during the race and tour with food, drink, live music, bon fires, re-waxing stations, relay team tag-offs, cheer leaders, crowds of spectators, live coverage from local radio stations, and shuttle bus connection to the Common. Local business sponsors will have the opportunity to set up display booths at the Center and at the finish on Craftsbury Common.
Perhaps the most welcome change this year for participants will be a substantial reduction in the marathon registration fee at a time when everyone is thinking twice about their discretionary expenditures.
For more information check the marathon web site at www.craftsbury.com.