RunVermont announced Tuesday that this year’s Vermont City Marathon will be only 13.1 miles, instead of the usual 26.2, to keep as many medical professionals fighting the Delta variant of Covid-19 as possible.
The marathon normally requires over 100 doctors, EMTs and nurses in attendance. The half-marathon, on the other hand, will be staffed by the Burlington Fire Department and a “handful” of health care professionals, Kate Vetter, RunVermont’s digital communications manager, said.
“The whole marathon distance is much, much tougher on the body than a half-marathon,” Vetter said in an email.
According to Vetter, RunVermont chose this modification after speaking with officials at the Vermont Department of Health and the International Institute of Race Medicine, as well as its own medical team and medical directors of other Northeast marathons.
In February, officials announced that the race — usually held every Memorial Day weekend — had been postponed to Oct. 24.
After last year’s race became a half-marathon the same October weekend, participants planned on a full-length marathon this year. With the vaccine rollout and falling case numbers that followed, RunVermont’s blog posts were optimistic that the full marathon would be run.
While race day is more than a month away, RunVermont’s own training guide is 18 weeks long. That means people following the plan for this race started training at the end of June.
Vetter told Digger that the number of runners who signed up for this year’s race was only 40% of the usual crowd. Now, RunVermont is waiting for runners’ responses to the news to see who will participate in the race, and who will defer to May 2022 or take free registration for a partnering marathon.
Runners participating in the relay should not be affected, Vetter said, but have also been given the choice to defer their registration to next year’s race.
No matter how many runners choose not to participate in the half-marathon, it would only be canceled if there’s a mandatory lockdown, Vetter said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story used the wrong name for the Vermont City Marathon.
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