5 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon Runners to Watch

Photo by Stephen Mease

The 2011 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon is set for May 29. Vermont Sports wholeheartedly congratulates the participants for their dedication to running and honors all the time they have spent training for this 26.2-mile, hilly run through the fabulous city of Burlington. We also congratulate RunVermont, which has successfully organized this event for 23 years. Through RunVermont’s hard work, the Keybank Vermont City Marathon has grown to be one of the most respected marathons in the country.

Among the predicted 3,600 marathoners, there are five that we found worth keeping a sharp eye on. From a barefoot runner to an Olympic hopeful, there’s plenty of excitement in this year’s pack.

We wish these five profiled runners, as well as all of the participants, the best of luck in the 2011 race.

Newton BakerNewton Baker
: 69
: Montpelier
Baker, a 69-year-old who uses marathons to train for the 24-Hour Run National Championships, will be racing in his 23rd KBVCM this year. In 2008, he was inducted into the RunVermont Hall of Fame for racing and finishing all 20 Vermont City Marathons. In 2009, a broken ankle threatened to break his participation streak, but after training with crutches, he was able to race the first loop of the course and keep his record alive. The 2011 Vermont City Marathon will be his 142nd marathon and his 55th in Vermont.

HeidiHeidi Westover
: 30
: Walpole, N.H.
Westover can run. She has won the KBVCM in four of the last five years, finishing third in 2008. That third place must have lit a fire because she came back in 2009 to destroy the old course record by several minutes. She ran 2:35:02. This year, Westover is looking to meet the “A” standard (2:39) for the 2012 Olympic Trials as part of her training for the Chevron Houston Marathon in January. Perhaps most impressive, though, is she trains at such a competitive level and is a full-time, fifth-grade teacher at North Charlestown Community School in Charlestown, N.H.

Teage O'ConnorTeage O’Connor
: 26
: Burlington
Teage should be easy to spot in this year’s KBVCM; he’s likely the only one racing barefoot. He ran his first KBVCM last year in a thin pair (about 1/8-inch thick) of leather sandals to protect his feet from rocks and broken glass. This year, after more running sessions sans shoes, he’ll be looking to run the whole 26.2 barefoot. “In a longer race, the biggest issue is having to respond to every piece of topography on the ground,” says O’Connor. “I find myself gravitating towards the painted lane strips or sections where cracks have been filled in.” His goal: an ambitious sub-2:30.

Andrea Sisino
: 51
: Hardeeville, S.C. (formerly North Ferrisburgh)
The Vermont City Marathon wouldn’t be what it is without Andrea Sisino. She served as the VCM race director from 1995 until 2009, and after retiring to South Carolina, will return this year to run the relay with Runner’s World’s Bart Yasso. She will also be inducted into RunVermont’s Hall of Fame. According to current executive director of RunVermont, Peter Delaney, Sisino is being honored for her “substantial contributions to the many events and programs that simply would not exist without her vision and hard work. Words cannot do justice to the many lives she has impacted.”

Chris BreseeChris Bresee
: 16
: Williston
At only 16, Chris is the youngest competitor racing the full distance at the 2011 VCM. “I just wanted to do something that’d push me both physically and mentally, and that would require a lot of self-discipline,” says Bresee. He found a beginner training program online and has been following it religiously for the last 16 weeks. Bresee, a novice runner, hadn’t run more than a few miles at a time before deciding to race his first marathon. This year, he’s just hoping to cross the finish line, but he already has his sights set on future times.

Tim Reynolds

Tim Reynolds is a cross-country ski racer with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. He writes from his home in Craftsbury Common.

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