The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

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Crowley Brothers Memorial Road Race sets record for participation

RUTLAND - The Crowley Brothers Memorial Road Race has been a favorite for runners for decades. The course from Proctor to Rutland, dates back 85 years ago when it was first established. Although the race took a prolonged hiatus, this past Sunday's race marked the 37th consecutive year making it the oldest point-to-point race of its kind in New England.

This year, organizers were proud to announce that over 1,000 people participated in the day's events: A new record. Officially timed 5- and 10-kilometer courses followed similar routes as did a half marathon course. All the courses are certified by United States Track and Field and the 5k featured competitors vying for recognition in the regional championships.

The great weather brought out an estimated 2,000 spectators who lined the route and congregated on Merchant's Row at the finish line in Rutland. Vendors and sponsors set up tents next to the food and music which added to the festival atmosphere that was friendly and family-oriented.

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Perhaps the most famous veteran of the race is Bill Rodgers who ran it for his sixth consecutive time. In the 1970's Rodgers was one of America's best runners. He won the Boston Marathon four times, and the New York City Marathon four times. He was also on the 1976 and 1980 Olympic team.

"In Rutland I love how they have all the different events, so the kids can do their race and the half marathoners can go and then you celebrate life. Because that is what our sport stands for," Rodgers said. A fitting comment as the race raises money and awareness for improved cardiovascular fitness.

Everybody who finished proudly wore a medal, and delighted in the community celebration at the finishline. None more so, perhaps, than the many children who completed a fun one mile loop around the downtown.