The Mad Marathon is now ten years old – more or less a pandemic sabbatical year
Although life in the Mad River Valley goes at a slower pace, 10 years ago, residents of Warren Dori Ingalls and Ian Sweet were quick to say yes to the organization and founding of the Mad Marathon, Mad Half and Mad Relays every July.
The event drew runners and their families from 50 states and 34 countries and was three times named one of Runner’s World Magazine’s Top Ten Marathons in the World, a Summer Event of the Top Ten Summer Events in the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Vermont for three years. , Race Rave Bucket List as well as many other awards.
The first Mad Marathon took place in July 2011. Members of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee approached founder and current Race Director Ingalls to organize a weekend run or marathon. following July 4, 2011. It was expected and continues to be a deliberate economic blow during a week when the number of visitors to The Valley is lower. Ten years later, it was still working. The world has noticed these races. In an age full of sprint triathlons and Tough Mudder style events, the longevity and vitality of the Mad Marathon is remarkable.
Then the road got bumpy, Ingalls explained. Unable to apply for grants or offer tax benefits to donors, the for-profit version of the Mad Marathon, Mad Half & Relays was totally dependent on entry fees and a limited number of sponsorships.
“With the sudden COVID-19-related cancellation of 2020 10th anniversary in-person races and this year’s revenue streams almost completely, the company’s survival was on the line. Same expenses, 95% revenue in less. It wasn’t a good combination, ”Ingalls reported.
“The situation was so dire, then when we were finally found to be ineligible for federal or state aid, canceling the Mad Marathon for good, Mad Half & Relays seemed like the only responsible course of action,” she said.
“A coalition of runners, running legends, chamber, community leaders and friends have recognized that Mad Marathon races are a critically important community asset that deserves to be preserved. In response, we created a new nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) called Mad Valley Sports, ”Ingalls reported.
The goal and purpose of Mad Valley Sports is to promote health and wellness in the Mad River Valley through the support, operation and management of sports-related educational, recreational and social events, including the Mad Marathon, Mad Half & Relays.
A committed and experienced board of directors has joined the team: Dori Ingalls, president; Robert Laird, MD, vice president; Ian Sweet, treasurer; Mark Lichterman, JD, MPH, secretary; Bart Yasso, trustee; Kate Williams, trustee; Edward Read, administrator.
This year’s Mad Marathon, Mad Half & Relays has been moved from July to September 12 and is restructuring with Ingalls remaining as Race Director with Sweet as an assistant. In 2022 the race will return to the Sunday following July 4, so July 10.
“The goal is to grow this extraordinary community weekend of events while adding more recreational opportunities to the Mad River Valley, the wonderful place we call home,” said Ingalls.
“The Mad Marathon is the perfect embodiment of Mad River Valley. Runners, friends and families are welcomed to a running destination like no other. It truly is America’s finest marathon. Mad River Valley offers spectacular scenery, an authentic vibe and a real sense of community that combine to exude a palpable sense of belonging. The marathon is perfectly suited to the region is important to our community both economically and spiritually ” added Eric Friedman, executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce.