Ripton friends ran together as kids, now run as dads

RIPTON — Thirty-one years ago, when they were six and seven years old, Levi Doria and Brian Phinney took part in the first Ripton Ridge Run to raise money for the town’s brand-new school. Growing up in Ripton, attending Middlebury College, and now working in Middlebury, Brian and Levi have run the Ridge Run as small children, high school and college athletes, and as prep school coaches.
They were back again last year, this time as fathers, running the 5K course as they pushed their own children in strollers. Although they carry a little more weight and a lot more responsibility these days, their feelings toward participating in the race and raising money for the school haven’t changed. They join runners from all over New England and of all ages and abilities in this annual event.
Levi and Brian come by their enthusiasm naturally; their mothers helped organize the first Ridge Run in 1988 and have helped ever since. Jane Phinney, who later became a Ripton teacher and principal, reflected on the impetus for that first race:
“Building a new school in Ripton 31 years ago was a big step for the town. A group of parents got together and decided that a foot race would be a good way to raise money to help with the cost of desks and tables etc. Over the years the Ripton Ridge Run has become a community event that brings the whole town together to continue to raise money for the school. It is also a way to bring people from all over New England to our beautiful town at a beautiful time of year.”
This year’s Ridge Run is Sunday, Oct. 7. It starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Ripton Elementary School on the Ripton-Lincoln Road, less than a mile north of the Ripton Country Store. There are a couple options — a 5K run or 5K fun walk and a 10.4K run. The routes take runners and walkers on paved, dirt and characteristically hilly roads showcasing some of Ripton’s natural beauty.
Race day registration is from 11 a.m. to noon. The registration fee includes the race, a full lunch, raffle and a long-sleeved t-shirt. There are prizes for top runners as well as glass medallions to top runners in every age group. Before Oct. 1, the cost is $30 for adults; $20 for seniors and children. After Oct. 1, fees are $25 for ages 15 and younger, $30 for seniors 65 years and older, and $40 for ages 16-64. Registration information is available at riptonridgerun.org. Register online until Oct. 1, mail in a registration form or register on the day of the race.
For more information, call the Ripton Elementary School at 802-388-2208 during school hours, email [email protected] or click here.
Editor’s note: Barry King provided this story and photos.

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