This is one of the most beautiful marathon routes in New England. The course starts at Marlboro College in the Green Mountains of Vermont, follows the Green River as it flows down toward the Connecticut River, and ends at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Along the way, racers will pass beneath beautiful forests, glide past historic farms, and run across an 1870’s covered bridge. Runners will catch amazing views of the river itself (which really is green in places), and breathe in the delightfully fresh air of the Green Mountains and the Berkshires.
Detailed description: This is a net downhill (-1,450 feet) marathon (26.2 miles), and as such is a good candidate for a marathon PR and a BQ. Keep in mind that this isn’t an easy course; no marathon is, and this one does have a few hills! But if you train right, it could be a fast one for you. The course is USATF-certified and is a qualifying race for Boston (Certification number MA18003JK).
Again, though it’s mostly downhill, there are some uphill sections! Runners should train with this in mind. The road surface is mostly packed dirt-and-gravel with a few sections of pavement until mile 21, and there are 5 miles of pavement at the end. Runners should train on dirt roads and hills to prepare.
The course starts at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont, and heads steeply down the packed dirt-and-gravel Moss Hollow Road for 2 miles (with one small uphill) and then turns left onto Green River Road. This mostly downhill section is paved for 3.9 miles, and then continues on packed dirt road. Green River Road takes on the name Hinesburg Road which runners will follow until reaching a 0.4-mile out-and-back spur. After completing this spur, runners will turn left (south) onto the packed dirt-and-gravel Green River Road, where runners will climb slowly up the first significant hill of the course (which isn’t much, actually) and then across the beautiful Green River Covered Bridge in Guilford, built in the 1870’s. To the right of the bridge is the Green River Crib Dam built of logs and stone in 1810. A beautiful 3.4 miles down dirt road from the covered bridge is the Vermont – Massachusetts state line, marked by a granite post up on the hill to the right. This is the approximate halfway point of the race. 1.6 miles past the border, runners will come back onto the pavement for another 1.2 miles, after which they will then turn left to stay on Green River Road. About 500 feet later, the pavement ends and runners are back on packed dirt-and-gravel for the next 5 miles. A half mile after regaining the dirt road, runners will bear right to remain on Green River Road. For the next 0.4 miles, runners will climb what we call “Airstream Hill” for the vintage airstream trailers parked on the left side; this hill rises 80 feet over that distance. From the top of the hill, 111 Green River Road (marked on a prominent mailbox), runners have 3.1 miles of mostly downhill until reaching the most challenging hill on the route. Runners should be extremely careful on this big hill, as the curves are tight, sight-distance is limited, and there are dangerous drop-offs on the left side of the road. This hill rises 85 feet in a half mile. From the top of the hill, it’s about 5.5 miles of mostly downhill on paved rural and suburban roads through the Greenfield Meadows section of town. From Plains Rd, the course turns right on Meadow lane, then left on Colrain Road. These turns will be well marked and staffed with race marshals. At the Colrain Road rotary, the course turns right and climbs slightly up a wide, paved access road (College Drive) to the finish (on grass) at Greenfield Community College.