Crisp air and bright vistas bring out fall runners

ENJOY THE FALL foliage and the invigorating temperatures with a run through the Green Mountain National Forest in the Ripton Ridge Run on Oct. 9. This popular annual race is a fundraiser for Ripton Elementary School.

For many people, falling temperatures in the fall increases their excitement for running. The crisp chill in the air is a spur for many to head out and hit the back roads of the trails and enjoy an invigorating jog in the midst of the beautiful foliage.

While simply running on your own or with a partner is a delightful way to spend a fall afternoon, the Champlain Valley presents several opportunities to run in races that offer the joys of getting out with the satisfaction of competition. Some of the races are fundraisers for causes that may be close to your heart.

One of those fundraiser road races will take place on Oct. 2, when the annual 5K run and walk for the Three Day Stampede towards the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis returns to Bristol. The Stampede discontinued its big summer yard sale due to the pandemic and changes in the organization, but the group continues to organize other fundraisers, including this run and walk. The route is a scenic one winding through the streets of Bristol and organizers are hoping for a beautiful day.

Registration for the two events will begin at 7:30 a.m. by the fountain on the town green in Bristol on Sunday, Oct. 2. The 5k run will start at 8:15 a.m. on the green; the entry fee for the run is $25 the day of the race. The walkathon on the same course will be start immediately following the start of the 5K run. The walkathon will be pledge driven (pledge sheets online at or an entry fee of $25 the day of the event.

FALL IS GREAT time to burn off some energy with a run in the Vermont woods. This athlete was taking part in the annual TAM Trek, which took place in September.

Also hoping for beautiful weather on Oct. 2 are organizers of the annual Middlebury Maple Run, which starts and finishes at the Middlebury Regional EMS headquarters near Porter Hospital. That starting gun goes off at 9 a.m. The Maple Run features a USATF-certified half marathon and two-person relay, and a 3-mile fun run through beautiful scenic routes on pavement, gravel and trail. Net proceeds will help fund a variety of nonprofits. Sign up online

If you like the rural setting of the Maple Run, you will love the even more bucolic setting of the Ripton Ridge Run, which takes place on the second weekend in October. This event is a 10.4K loop run, a 5K run or a 5K Fun Walk through Ripton on Sunday, Oct. 9 during peak foliage season.

The courses starts and finishes at the Ripton Elementary School on the Ripton-Lincoln Road, will traverse roads in Ripton and the Green Mountain National Forest, and include water stops. Check in at the school between 11 a.m. and noon; races begin at 12:30 p.m. Register online at until Oct. 7 or register at the school on the day of the race (for a higher price).

For those who keep running into “stick season” (after all the leaves fall from the trees), there are the popular road races centered around Thanksgiving. Middlebury Parks and Recreation stages these yearly 5K and 10K races at the town rec center, 154 Creek Rd. Racing starts at noon. There will be medals for winners and raffle for all entrants. Bring two or more non-perishable food items to donate to the Addison County Food Shelf and you’ll automatically be entered to win special prizes from a donors’ only drawing. More information online at

Then on Thanksgiving Day itself, get hungry for a big meal by taking part in the Neshobe Pie Gobbler fun run and walk in Brandon. On Nov. 24 at Neshobe Golf Club, 224 Town Farm Road, the local recreation department will send athletes off at 8 a.m. on a course that’s approximately three miles over hill and dale at Neshobe Golf Course. It is a self-timed race. The winning male and female racers, as well as every 10th finisher, receives a freshly made pie!

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