So, You Think You’re Tough?

From our friends at the Catamount Trail Association:

Many people are looking for new races that will challenge themselves physically and mentally—whether it’s a midnight bike ride, running through fire and mud, a marathon, century ride, or Ironman—athletes nationwide are upping the ante. For competitors who wish to identify themselves as both physically fit and mentally tenacious, The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont is the next quest to add to the list. As the second-longest and largest hill climb in New England following the Mount Washington Road Race, the 4.3 miles and 2,564 feet of vertical climb is a challenge for even the toughest of athletes. It’s not just a race against your competitors; it’s a race against the mountain. Constant uphill climbing with a 8-12 percent grade, unpredictable weather conditions, and demanding switchbacks require more strength and perseverance than most marathon races.

Located in Vermont’s quintessential village of Stowe, 800 athletes from more than 20 states will run, hike, or mountain bike up the Mount Mansfield Toll Road on Sunday, August 26. “This race is truly unique,” stresses Race Director Jim Fredericks, “because it is the only race that accommodates so many different athletes. It draws world champion hill climbers, Ironman champions, members of the US Ski Team, international racers, and local college and high school athletes who all surge up the mountain by foot or by bike. However, it also has a non-competitive hiking division for those participants who want to be in a positive, active environment but aren’t interested in racing.” For the toughest of them all, the King of the Mountain award will be presented to the fastest person up the course for both men and women. Mountain biker Jamey Driscoll from Colorado holds the course record for men in 31:51.6 while World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman of Hinesburg, Vermont, retains the female record in 39:17.7. New course record holders will be rewarded with a $500 check for their impressive effort.

As a race that showcases the toughness of Vermont’s landscape, it is also a fundraiser for two nonprofit organizations whose missions are to conserve Vermont’s landscape for the natural habitats and recreational opportunities they provide. The Catamount Trail Association, which organizes The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont, protects, manages, and promotes a 300-mile long ski trail the length of Vermont called The Catamount Trail. The Vermont Land Trust is working to conserve a 1,161-acre parcel of land in Bolton Valley that is home to over 90 kilometers of ski trails, including a section of The Catamount Trail, as well as wildlife habitats and natural forestland. Participants in the August 26 event are encouraged to fund-raise money for the Bolton Backcountry Project to help protect Vermont’s natural scenery and recreational facilities for the generations to come.

As an event, which reaches out to the entire family, the Catamount Trail Association will present the first annual MVP Health Care Run For Fun. This fun race offers an opportunity for kids between the ages of 4 and 14 to demonstrate their running talents over a 1K mini-hill climb. This event is designed to introduce young children to the lifelong sport of running in a positive environment where hundreds of healthy role models will be cheering them along the course. All participants receive a commemorative medal and raffle ticket for their hard work.

For more information about the event, visit