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By Carol Thompson
The Mad River Valley community is very fortunate to be able to enjoy the wonderful recreational resource known as the Mad River Path.
For the past 21 years, the path has been gaining ground, by physically increasing in length, adding new members and producing two popular events (the Benefit Bash in the spring and the Mad Dash in the fall). During that period of time, many dedicated volunteers have worked weekends, weekdays and evenings to build new trails and maintain the ones that are used regularly by many, many residents and visitors of the Mad River Valley.
Our 13th annual Mad Dash is coming up next weekend on Sunday, September 21. Each year our board of directors looks at the great amount of time, money and energy that is required to put on an event of this magnitude, and each year we continue because we want to offer participants an exceptional and fun recreational opportunity.
We usually have around 350 racers, including over 80 kids who do the Fun Run. At this point in time, with less than one week to go, our registration numbers are way down, and I'm hoping that there will be a flurry of folks who will grab their friends and/or kids and get out for a scenic run or an energetic fitness walk on the Mad River Greenway! For more information, please visit our website: www.madriverpath.com .
The success of this race also depends on the generosity of our corporate and local sponsors. For whatever reason (poor economy, stretched too thin, too many requests for donations?), this year the number of our sponsors has also dropped by a significant amount.
When I see real estate companies advertising property for sale by using "close to the path" as an alluring condition, I wonder why more Realtors aren't investing in the path. When I think about the reasons why many visitors come to stay in The Valley and I notice that very few inns and lodges have become path members, I wish they would reconsider and help us with the hard work that has resulted in a fantastic (and free) way to spend vacation time -- by enjoying the many resources (safety, beauty, serenity, water, clean air) that the path has to offer.
In order to fulfill our mission of connecting the towns of the Mad River Valley with a network of recreational trails, we need your support! If you have not yet become a member, please think about how much healthier and more enjoyable your life is because of the existence of the Mad River Path.
Carol Thompson is the director of the Mad River Path Association.