October 13, 2013
This year marked the 26th running of the Ripton Ridge Run, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Ripton Elementary School. In addition to a 5K and 10.4K run, there is a 5K walk and a shorter, noncompetitive event for children. A total of 139 runners competed in the 5K with an additional 55 doing the longer race. Donna Perrin, a 54-year-old massage therapist and reflexologist from Middlebury, finished the 5K in the middle of the pack in just more than 30 minutes.
VS: Was this your first time doing the Ripton Ridge Run?
DP: I missed a few, but I’ve done a lot of them. I just love it. It’s a great run because it’s got some challenge with the hills, the temperature is just right, the foliage is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the atmosphere is amazing.
VS: Is it a pretty course?
DP: It’s a great time of year to run the race because of the foliage, but there are also pretty open sections as well as wooded ones. The 10K has a really nice section that goes by a pond and then loops around to some great views. There’s always a lot to see.
VS: Was the course challenging?
DP: It’s Ripton so it’s a hilly course. The 10K has one big hill, which is either at the beginning or the end (the race alternates from clockwise to counterclockwise every other year), and then there are smaller rolling hills. The 5K has a nice hill in your first mile, and then it’s also up and down with rolling hills. They’re good hills; they’re not crazy.
VS: Is it a family-friendly event?
DP: It’s very family friendly. I started running with my granddaughter in 2009, and this year was the first time she ran it by herself. She came back and said it was really cool. A girlfriend of mine ran it with her son this year. There is also a smaller run/walk for the younger kids, so there are lots of families there.
VS: What was the best part of the race?
DP: I don’t think I could pick one specific thing because it’s all so good. Even the buildup while you’re waiting for the race to start is fun because everyone is so pleasant. The meal at the end is good, and there is a raffle and prizes, and it seems like the weather is always good. Fall is my favorite time of year.
VS: What is the meal like?
DP: They have chili, pizza, salad, and dessert. I’ve never seen them run out of food.
VS: How does it compare to other races?
DP: There are a number of other races that I do annually, but this one seems to have the most people who come back year after year. This year, I got passed going up the hill by a woman who greeted me and said she was glad to see me. She beats me every year, but there’s no competitiveness in the conversation. She took the time to say hello and ask how I was doing. Everyone is pleasant and people cheer each other on.
VS: If you were in charge of the race, would you do anything differently?
DP: I don’t think so. The organizers do a great job, and it’s a great atmosphere. I wish they had a bigger place because it’s tough fitting everyone in the small school, and it gets a bit hot with all the sweaty bodies, but there’s not a lot they can do about that since the race is to raise money for the school. As far as putting the race together is concerned, it’s very well done.