Vermont 100 endurance ride or run celebrates 30 years

REGION – Next weekend over 350 highly trained endurance runners from all over the United States and a few foreign countries will compete to complete the very challenging and scenic 100-mile course in our area. One hundred runners will attempt the 100-kilometer course and about 100 horses and their riders, from around the U.S. and world, will race either the 100, 75, or 50-mile courses set for them.

As the last race in the United States where horses and runners compete on the same course simultaneously, this race is unique and in demand. The run races typically sell out in minutes. The entry fees do not deter runners and a waitlist forms as soon as the race sells out.

The race proceeds benefit Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, a nonprofit located in Killington, Vt., that allows individuals to challenge themselves through sports. The Vermont 100 has become one of largest fundraisers for Vermont Adaptive contributing nearly $200,000 this year to the organization.

Both Vermont Adaptive and The Vermont 100 were founded by West Windsor, Vt. resident Laura Farrell, who is still involved to date, marking trail and volunteering on the race committee.

In order to put on a race of this size, the race committee appeals to many area landowners, almost 60, for use of their properties for race weekend. Permission to use their land and enjoy their Vermont views is one of the reasons so many riders and runners return year after year to this race. The race committee and volunteers work for months performing trail maintenance and upgrades; keeping the area trail systems in top condition.

The course has aid stations along the route providing food, water, first aid, etc. There are 25 stations for the 100-mile with 16 also serving the 100-kilometer course. Many of the aid station have adopted themes: Margaritaville, Camp 10 Bear, Spirit of 76, and Polly’s All Night Diner to name a few. These aid stations are made up of some of the 300-plus volunteers that help make this race happen. Some runners choose to run “solo” without a crew helping them at designated aid stations because of the number and location of aid stations along this course. This isn’t the case for many endurance races.

The horses and riders have mandatory hold areas where veterinarians monitor the horses. Many of the area landowners put out water and sponges for the horses in between their designated crew stations. And the human aid stations gladly provided food and water to the horse riders too.

The course winds its way along the back roads, trails, and some roadways in the towns of West Windsor, Hartland, Taftsville, Pomfret, Woodstock, South Woodstock, Reading, and Cavendish. In addition, runners and riders get to experience two covered bridges: Taftsville Covered Bridge and Lincoln Covered Bridge.

The 100-mile run starts Saturday, July 21 at 4 a.m. and finishes Sunday morning, July 22 at 10 a.m. The 100-kilometer starts at 9 a.m. with the finish line closing at 5 a.m. Sunday. The horses leave Silver Hill Meadow at 5 a.m. Saturday and return before 5 a.m. Sunday for the 100-mile ride. The trail opens for the 75-mile riders at 9:15 a.m. Saturday and closes at 3:15 a.m. Sunday. The 50-mile riders begin at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon and return to Silver Hill Meadow before 2 a.m. early Sunday morning.

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