This year’s Mad Marathon, the 10th one, is slated for September 12 with a full weekend of events wrapped around the race. The Mad Marathon, Mad Half & Relays, will take place in-person and are now being put on by a new nonprofit, Mad Valley Sports. Race founder and spokesperson Dori Ingalls said that Mad Valley Sports is now in the process of fundraising to cover the costs associated with the events. The fundraising goal is $65,000.
“It’s been a very bumpy road for the Mad Marathon, Mad Half & Relays. As was true for nearly all events and organizations, the sudden COVID-19-related cancellations in the spring of 2020, and the subsequent loss of our registration and sponsorship-based revenue stream demonstrated how vulnerable to financial disaster we were. It took a near fatal toll on our beloved races,” Ingalls said.
She explained that a group of community leaders, runners and friends of the Mad Marathon stepped in to form a new 501(c)(3) tax exempt Vermont nonprofit corporation (Mad Valley Sports) that will expertly operate the races going forward. Ingalls will be engaged as race director and charged with building the new organization for the next five years.
“As a nonprofit organization, Mad Valley Sports is operated for the public good and can tap into a wide variety of funding opportunities including offering tax advantages to our donors and sponsors and seeking grants from foundations,” Ingalls explained.
She said that beyond the impact that the races have on The Valley, the races also impact those who participate, including Mark Lichterman, Detroit, who ran the Mad. Half in 2012 and has been returning ever since.
“The Mad Marathon has been changing lives for the better for 10 years. It certainly did mine and my family’s. It changes the new runners who conquer each hill, finish strong, enjoy the cows and incredible scenery along the way into veteran hill runners who are now raring to find their next challenge. It changes runners and their families who came to the Mad Marathon, because it’s small, or because its hilly, or because it’s in a state that they need to complete their 50-state racing quest, into lovers of the Mad River Valley and all it has to offer, who will want to return year after year,” Lichterman, said.
Susan and Peter MacLaren, innkeepers of the West Hill House B&B, agreed that the financial impacts of the marathon are significant.
"Speaking as the long-time owners of one of the B&Bs in the Mad River Valley, the Mad Marathon event brings our business, and other businesses in the Valley, a major revenue boost. The marathon is scheduled for a nonholiday weekend when we often would have empty rooms. Not only that, we have found that most marathoners and their supporting partner or partners usually come for at least four nights. These extra nights allow them to experience the Mad River Valley at its fullest, including eating at our locally-owned restaurants, exploring the wide variety of artisan stores and getting a chance to relax in The Valley's gorgeous scenery. Some of those guests come back again to The Valley at other times. With all the benefits that the Marathon brings to the Mad River Valley, we have been proud to be a financial sponsor each year since the marathon was inaugurated in 2011,” they said.
To make a donation visit www.madvalleysports.org and click on the DONATE tab.
Or mail a check to: Mad Valley Sports, P.O. Box 28, Waitsfield, Vermont 05673.
Economic impact of the Mad Marathon
(Mad Marathon organizers calculated the economic impact of the marathon on The Valley.)
With an average of 850 runners over the past nine years, the economic impact on the Mad River Valley has been considerable. Based on a UVM study, the average overnight visitor spends $239 per day on lodging, shopping, recreation, food and beverage. A party of two spends $339 per day. The typical marathoner will spend 3.5 days on location with a family member or $1,186.00. However, according to reports from Active.com, one out of three marathoners choose their race as a vacation, which increases these numbers. The Mad Marathon is a destination family event held over three or four days and its runners travel with an average of three family members. As a result, the average Mad Marathoner will spend 3.5 days in The Valley with family members or $1,779 during their visit. These numbers are realistic and at the same time conservative. Based on these statistics, the Mad Marathon brought $1,512,150 into the community for the 2019 race which this will also reflect in 2021.
Also, daily visitors to The Valley as athletes, spectators and support teams will spend an average of $42 per day; therefore, again raising the total impact.
While, the numbers attending and visiting The Valley for the Mad Marathon have reached the goal of an average of 3,000, the attention to the Mad River Valley has been enormous. These runners have traveled from all 50 states along with 30 countries. The website hit rate has reached 8,000 per month and Facebook views are growing. A large portion of registered athletes will be first-time visitors to Vermont and are learning what Vermont has to offer outside of the marathon.
Mad Valley Sports (MVS) will mirror the Mad Marathon marketing, social media and advertising campaigns to promote all recreation along with sport opportunities available in the Mad River Valley. The MVS website hosts these along with lodging.