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Maple Run this weekend

The second running of the Middlebury Maple Run. The Sweetest Half is set for 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. The race is a half-marathon (13.1 miles, USATF-certified) over a scenic course that starts in downtown Middlebury and runs through rural pastures with magnificent views of the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Race organizers are expecting 500 participants to run this year-400 athletes for the full distance and 50 two-person teams.

This year's race features several new and improved amenities.

A two-person relay option gives runners who aren't quite ready for the full half-marathon distance the chance to enjoy much of the experience. The Leg 1 athlete will complete the first 7 miles, and the Leg 2 athlete will complete the remaining 6.1 miles.

The race will be professionally timed by Bay State Race Services and will feature chip timing.

The Middlebury Inn, the race's headquarters hotel, is hosting a pre-race dinner on Saturday, April 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The race dinner will feature a keynote address from Kelly Brush, winner of the 2009 NCAA Inspiration Award, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Kelly is a 2008 graduate of Middlebury College. As a collegiate skier, she was seriously injured in a 2006 race that has left her wheelchair-dependent. The cost of the dinner and speech is $19 per person. Tickets can be purchased in advance or the evening of the event.

After the race, athletes and their families will enjoy a post-race party. Two Brothers Tavern is catering the event and "The Horsetraders" will provide live music. Every runner gets free admission to the post-race party with his/her bib number. Additional family and friends can purchase tickets for $10 per person.

The start and finish lines are located on the campus of Porter Medical Center. The race course leaves the hospital, comes through downtown, turns onto Printer's Alley, through the Marble Works district, and heads toward Weybridge via the Pulp Mill Bridge. Once in Weybridge, the course follows Morgan Horse Farm Road, turns left onto Hamilton Road and left again onto Sheep Farm Road to head back into Middlebury. The runners will cross the Middlebury College campus and the relay exchange point will be located at Old Chapel at Mile 7. Runners will continue across the campus, turn onto South Street again from Porter Field Road. Runners will head south on South Street and will make a U-turn just before the intersection of Morse Road and return back to Porter Hospital for the finish.

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