Early Sunday morning, August 26, all eyes were on South Road in front of the Admissions building for the start of the inaugural New England Green River Marathon. More than 350 runners from 25 states as well as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil ran the 26.2-mile course down the course of the Green River, from Marlboro College to Greenfield Community College.
“This was an auspicious way to start our academic year,” said Marlboro President Kevin Quigley, who was there in the wee hours to cheer on the runners at the start. A group of Marlboro students played folk music to add a Vermont flavor to the event. “Getting the most out of your college years is a marathon in a very real sense, and it seemed fitting for Marlboro to sponsor and host the beginning of this pioneering race.”
The downhill course featured a net 1,450-foot drop, following the Green River from the headwaters in Marlboro to Greenfield, Massachusetts. Starting at 7 a.m., the runners descended down Moss Hollow Road to Green River Road, where farmers were hauling sweet corn to market.
“I found myself looking at waterfalls and the river,” said Meg Brockett, the 23-year-old New Hampshire native who crossed who finished first: in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 37 seconds. It was her first marathon. “It was quiet and nice. I started taking maple syrup shots at mile 18, and at mile 23 my hip started getting to me.”
Runner-up Coley Carden of Winchester, Massachusetts, and third-place finisher Vikram Daesety, a Boston University student, were also running their first marathons. They finished in 2:51:11 and 2:51:37, respectively.
In addition to Marlboro College and Greenfield Community College, the event was sponsored by the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club (SMAC) and the Connecticut River Conservancy. It was the inspiration of SMAC members Tom Raffensperger and Laure Van den Broeck, and proceeds will be shared between the club and the conservancy, which works to preserve the natural beauty of the Connecticut River watershed.