The Mad Dash 5K and 10K run on October 13 is a community staple in the Mad River Valley since its launch in 1995. Organized by the Mad River Path Association, the Mad Dash raises funds to support the mission of building a publicly accessible pathway and trails system across the Mad River Valley. This October, the event will host more than 500 runners and walkers. It’s an important fundraising and awareness event that generates revenue to build and maintain the local path system, which is free for public use.

Helping organize the Mad Dash are the more than 75 volunteers who, on the day of the event, staff the many jobs on site. Additionally, there are a handful of dedicated volunteers who work for months planning the event. These volunteers come from the community and many find time to serve on the committees that make the Mad Dash a success. These committees work on everything including day-of registration, organizing parking, course management, securing sponsors and auction items, and the preparation of food for the 500 guests. Betsy Jondro, a longtime board member of the Mad River Path Association, helps manage the Mad Dash.

Another volunteer who has been part of the Mad Dash since its inception is Harrison Snapp, who said, “I was excited to get involved the very first year the Mad River Path Association was formed, because it was a positive initiative that the entire community could support and would bring the towns of Warren, Waitsfield and Moretown closer together.”

Yet the paths serve an even more important role to The Valley’s local tourism. Eric Friedman, executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, said, “As a community which focuses on outdoor recreation, the Mad River Path Association provides a vital segment to the interests of those visiting the Mad River Valley. The chamber receives numerous calls from tourists interested in hiking and walking paths.”

All registration fees collected from the event go directly to supporting the paths in the community. There are over 9 miles of paths and trails that the Mad River Path Association maintains. These connect to more than 50 miles of multi-use trails. Currently, the association is planning six new sections that include a 50-foot bridge and several miles of paths and trails. Ultimately, the Mad River Path will have one continuous path that connects from Warren to Waitsfield to Moretown, with trails into the hills of these towns plus Fayston. All of this work also requires the cooperation and generosity of local landowners who host paths and trails on their private land.

This year several new sponsors have joined sponsors Sugarbush and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. These include Lawson’s Finest Liquids and The Skinny Pancake, which provides a lunch with crepe samples. Along with the running events, people can enjoy music by the Phineas Gage Project and during the running race watch the kids take center stage in their own half-mile fun run. Every participant is welcomed by the many community volunteers and receives an event shirt, lunch, refreshments and entertainment. There are raffle prizes to be won along with a silent auction featuring an assortment of items from local Valley businesses.

The Mad Dash takes place on October 13 starting at 10 a.m., just north of Waitsfield at the intersection of Route 100 and Meadow Lane (by Small Dog Electronics). For complete race information and to register go to the Mad River Path’s website, www.madriverpa