The North Face Race to the Summit at Stratton Mountain

Why do we do it to ourselves? Do we enjoy suffering? The benefit and the feeling afterwards is really rewarding also we’re doing something good for our bodies as well as our minds.  Sometimes I wonder if my mind is working when I sign up for some of these events. That is what I was saying to myself the Sunday of this past Columbus Day weekend.

I work in the kitchen alongside of  the chef/owner in a fine dining restaurant/inn. I knew that Columbus weekend was going to be really busy when I registered, but I didn’t think it was going to be as crazy as it was.  I was exhausted when my alarm went off Sunday morning! I went through my usual routine of oatmeal and coffee, and then headed out the door. What a beautiful day it was! The colors on the trees were really nice, Vermont couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. When I arrived at Stratton, the village was bustling with activity. They were having their annual Columbus weekend event which consisted of activities for the kids, live music, food, and a really nice selection of Vermont beers. I met up with a friend of mine who was doing the race and we went for a quick warm up run around the base of the mountain then headed over to the start line.

At 3,940 feet, Stratton Mountain is the highest peak in Southern Vermont. Some would say it’s not the steepest but when I started running up the trail after the gun went off, I was thinking the opposite. The grade never let up; it was a consistent suffer-fest for me. The lead runner was out of sight in no time, and I was able to slowly work my way up passing some people. Some folks went out really fast, and then fizzled pretty quickly, I was just trying to maintain my rhythm and not blow up. I managed to work my way up to third but that was all I had in me. I waited for my friend to finish then headed back down the mountain.

Stratton did a really nice job with this event.  I think around 100 people participated. The post-race buffet was excellent! There was a lot of fresh fruit, good coffee, and assorted danishes, etc. The North Face also came through with some nice medals, swag bags, and sneakers to the male and female winners.

So why do I do it? I enjoy challenging myself, meeting new, like-minded people, and I’m lucky enough to live in Vermont where there is a ton to do outside. So get out there and take advantage of it!


Greg Rems

Avid Vermont enthusiast, be it telemarking, cycling, running, hiking, or anything outside. Chef de Cuisine the Inn at West View Farm in Dorset, Vt. Living in Arlington.