A Love Letter to the City of Burlington, VT

First things first, THANK YOU SO MUCH to every one of you who has commented either here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter. Even though I may not have replied to everyone, please know that I read and appreciate every single kind word. You guys are wonderful. Now, on to business.

I know that my recap of the Vermont City Marathon yesterday was a huge downer. I’m still feeling really, really shitty. I’ll get over it eventually, but I just need to feel what I’m feeling and acknowledge it before I can move on.

HOWEVER-I don’t want people to think that I hated the race, or that I don’t appreciate the amazing way this city stepped up to support runners on an oppressively, dangerously hot day. In fact, this post is an attempt to recognize all of the positive things that happened on Sunday, in spite of my disappointment and frustration. I need to pay homage to the incredible residents of my city.

When it became apparent that Sunday’s temperatures were going to be extreme, RunVermont put out a call to folks living on the race course, asking them to help runners by leaving sprinklers running, or putting out hoses for runners to go through. And I’m here to tell you that Burlington answered that call. And then some.

There was not a single neighborhood that didn’t have some kind of unofficial support going. Children were standing on the side of the road holding out bags of ice. Men and women stood on their front lawns all day and hosed runners down, calling out, “Free showers! Cold showers! You earned it!” There were college-aged bros standing with 30 gallon athletic coolers of water on their shoulders so runners could have a drink or refill their bottles. There were women on Pine Street dressed in crazy tutus and wigs with spray bottles to help cool runners down. There were live bands playing, cowbells clanging, signs waving, and high fives for days.

Every time I took an orange slice or a handful of ice from a spectator, I smiled and said something along the lines of, “Thank you, you’re amazing.” And every.single.person said, “No, YOU’RE amazing! Keep going!” These people gave up their Sunday and stood out in the blistering heat to do something completely selfless and kind, and I can’t thank them enough.

I NEVER would have made it as far as I did on Sunday without the exceptional people of the city of Burlington. I had always heard that spectator support for Vermont City Marathon was off the charts, and I know now with every fiber of my being that it’s so true. This city loves its marathon and loves its runners, and I am SO FIERCELY PROUD to live here.

So Burlington–thank you. Thank you so much for being incredible, and making what could have been an entirely miserable day at least somewhat positive. And you can bet that from now on, if I’m not taking part in marathon weekend as a runner, I will be out there spectating, with water, ice, and a kind word, because I know first-hand how much it means.

Have you ever been completely blown away by spectator support at a race?

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10 thoughts on “A Love Letter to the City of Burlington, VT

  1. txa1265 says:

    I totally got the love for Burlington in your race recap – you might only think of the bad feelings, but you really piled on the love for the city and the people in that race.

    It is funny – on Monday we walked along with our younger son’s marching band, providing ‘hydration support’ – this was the first time we’d done it, having just cheered from the sidelines for the last 5 years of both boys marching. It was striking the constant and loud support from the entire community as the kids marched by – it was excellent.

    And it reminds me of my first Wineglass Marathon … while other races had support, THIS was amazing. Even out in farmland the people would come out and cheer us, and in towns there were huge crowds (well, relative to the area) out showing support. And that year where it hit 88F and humid? Same as you – hoses, sprayers, constant support from the crowd.

    It is a reminder of just how awesome people are – something we sometimes need reminders of especially in an election year!

  2. Darlene says:

    I so agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I wouldn’t have been able to cross the finish line if it weren’t for the people in Burlington. They’re the best.

  3. SuzLyfe says:

    This reminds me of Twin Cities, but even on another level. Twin Cities is the marathon with the most incredible grassroots course support I have ever seen, and I will never forget it! I am so happy that your community came out to show the runners the love!

  4. dgobs says:

    Sounds like Burlington really went all out! That is so awesome. It’s nothing compared to that level of community dedication, but the firefighters race I’ve done the past 2 summers have featured firemen along the course with hoses to spray us down, plus a GIANT misting fan at the end, because it’s a traditionally scorching race (though only 6K, thankfully!). The road guards are also all firemen, and they thank and high five runners as we go by. I’m always touched by their support, and it makes that race extra special. Props to Burlington again! ❤

  5. hellyontherun says:

    This is one of the things I love about running/racing. The community that comes out to support is just amazing and it’s hard not to smile throughout a race surrounded with people who *chose* to come out and cheer.

    I’ll keep Burlington in mind for my Vermont race!!

    • Rae says:

      The spectators alone make it worthwhile. When you get to Lakewood Estates at mile 17/18ish, it’s just incredible. If you get up this way, make sure you let me know!!

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