Dandelion Run 2011 - Recap
Derby, VT – Runners and Walkers, 218 in all, travelled from 10 states, 2 Canadian provinces and from all over Vermont to compete in the Third Annual Dandelion Run and celebrate the coming of High Spring in the world famous dandelion fields of Derby, Morgan and Holland. Fiddles, guitars, and banjos by Reckless Breakfast, Friends and Drifters, and The Warners, as well as the sounds of Kingdom Dixie, joined in the celebration throughout the run and down at the Beach House.
Thunder and lightning at 6:00 am did not bode well for the run. But the lightning stopped around 6:30 am, the rain let up about 15 minutes before the run, the sun came out during the run, and the dandelions spread their petals in a burst of welcome that was pretty spectacular.
The 2011 King and Queen of the Dandelions have now been crowned. Tim Reynolds, age 23, of Craftsbury Commons, set a new Dandelion Run Record with a time of 1:24:58 besting last year’s time set by Andy Decelles by a little over 3 minutes. Abbey Kaknes, age 27, of Burlington, Vermont was crowned the Queen of the Dandelions with her winning time among females of 1:34:32. Their prize – a first place cedarwood medal, a half a gallon of maple syrup from Couture’s Sugar Shop and B & B in Westfield and a pound of beef jerky from Breault’s Meat House in Troy. Bernard Tourigny, age 48, of Orford, Quebec, captured 2nd place among men with a time of 1:33:17 with Chip Pierce, age 50, of Newport, VT taking the third place honors with a time of 1:34:16. For the women, Christina Binder, age 28, of Somerville, MA, took second with a time of 1:43:57 with Marcella Vieraitis, age 22, of Hanover, NH placing third with a time of 1:44:09. Cedarwood medals, maple syrup and beef Jerky were awarded to the second and third place finishers as well.
Marcella was also awarded a free entry to 2012 for being part of the largest out of area team, the Dartmouth Ladies, who have grown from 4 runners last year to 7 this year. Another member of the team, Nicole Johns, age 22, of Seattle, WA, won a bottle of Dandelion Wine for travelling the furthest to attend the run. Runners up were Jo-Anne Kobelt, age 49, and Louis Beaudoin, age 53, from Canmore, Alberta running as a two person team, Alberta Beef. Beef jerky was awarded to them for their travel, of course. All in all, out of state registrations grew by 50% over last year as word spreads about what some are calling the Toughest and Most Beautiful Half Marathon in New England.
Youth winners of the 13.1 mile course were Caitlin Smith, age 16, of Montgomery, VT with a time of 1:57:44 and Sophia Webb, age 13 of Hinesburg, VT coming in 2:07:16. Sophia also won the prize for the youngest individual runner on the Half Marathon.
Newton Baker, age 69, of Montpelier, VT won the prize for the Most Mature runner in the 13.1 mile course – a two volume set of the works of Paul Lefevre, Perimeter Check, I and II as well as a bottle of Dandelion Wine. Newton has raced in 140 marathons and a dozen 24 hour runs. It was an honor to have him join us.
And, there was a tie of sorts for the prestigious Last One Back to the Barn award. This prize is offered for persistence in the face of adversity. We honor completion in addition to speed. We honor the fist-in-the-face-of-reality so typical of Northeast Kingdom residents. Rosalind Morville, age 36, of Watertown, MA finished with a time of 2:56:19. She was awarded a complete, autographed collection of the entire works to date by Howard Mosher. About 40 minutes after the prize was awarded, Tricia Lees, age 38, of Orlando, FL and her buddy, Aaron Harris, age 46 of Pass Christian, MS crossed the line with a time of about 3:39:30. We say “about” because our timekeepers had shut down by the time they showed up. They seemed happy and quite thrilled by the glorious views they had stopped to enjoy along their run. We have to say, we love the kind of runners who stop every now and then to smell the flowers, especially our “free range” dandelions. So, in honor of the spirit of the day, they too will be awarded the complete set of the works of Howard Mosher.
Winner of the five mile individual run was Steve Gratton, a 61 year old walk on from Warner, NH, with a time of 46:22. Steve just edged out Jennifer Quirion, Age 29, of Newport who took first place among the women with a time of 46:57. Not far behind was the Youth winner of the 5 Mile, Alex Cope, age 13 of Newport, VT with a time of 49:31.
Speaking of youth. We were especially excited to see that youth stormed both the 13.1 mile course and the 5 mile course. They were out in force, 35 in all. They were everywhere, as 2 and 4 person relay teams out “On the Big Run” and as individual runners on the 5 mile run.
Fastest youth in the 2-person relay were Ross Delabruere, age 15, and Patrick Tetreault, age 15, of Derby, Vermont who posted a “speedy quick” time of 1:38:46. (Not surprising given that Ross’s mom and his aunt won the female division of the Dandelion Run last year.) They were just two minutes behind the 2 person relay winners, Jenna and Bob Primeau who won the division with a time of 1:36:48.
And the 3 person youth relay team of Joseph Bourgeois, 17, Adam Viens, 15, and Trevol Howell, 17 won it all in the four person relay division with a blistering time of 1:27:52.
Watching this next generation of runners happily attack our challenging course without fear brought even more excitement to an already glorious day. The list of youth speedsters is growing. There were some very competitive races going on “up in the hills” and “around the pond.” These kids have the muster to be state champions, year after year after year. Their edge: they get to train on hills of Derby, Morgan and Holland. It makes a difference.
“It was great to see so many of our area youth participating in the Dandy. We are raising some high spirited runners in our area and it was terrific to see them out on the 5 mile and 13 mile courses,” said Julie Gunn, Director of Programming at IROC.
The weather cooperated with rain turning to sun just minutes before the start of the race.
The Dandelion Run has been selected by Vermont Sports as one of the five most scenic running races in Vermont. Just this month, Yankee Magazine selected the Dandy as one of the 20 best events in Vermont’s Summer in 2011. Just a week before the run, organizers of the First Annual Dandelion Festival learned that the North American Fiddle Judges Association has decided to join the Festival next year and hold the Vermont State Fiddle Championship as part of the weekend of festivities. There’s more work to be done to nail this one down, but it tells us, yes indeed, Dandelion Fever is contagious.
Special thanks to our many wonderful sponsors without whose support this run and our growing celebration of dandelion season in the Kingdom would not be possible.
On a personal note, it was really wonderful to see so many of who returned for another run with the Dandies and to meet and visit with so many wonderful, good spirited folks over the weekend. Thanks for joining us.
Phil White, member