The 2015 Vermont City Marathon was a challenging day for spectators and runners alike. For spectators (and press), jackets were on and off too many times to count. The sun would pop out, and then we’d get hit with rain drops. But that passing coolness wouldn’t last because the sun would make another harsh appearance at any moment. And that wind…always there. “It was all over the place,” said eventual winner Matt Pelletier. “Someone turned the weather machine on ‘go nuts’ (mode).”
The dial on weather machines typically only goes up to 10, so Matty P cranked his race intensity dial to 11 and overcame it all to win his 5th VCM. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Matty ran a 2:19:12 to win the race. And a race it was, right up until the end. It was too close to call, according to announcements coming in, until after 25 miles. Blair Teal came in second in a close 2:19:34. Teal, who runs for the Charlotte Running Club, aggressively attacked the course and ran much of the way shoulder to shoulder with Pelletier.
Just before Matty P came into sight, the announcement had come through that he was going to win. As he neared the finish line, he did something quite unexpected…he turned around and back tracked, going over to the sides to kiss a couple of spectators (who turned out to be his parents) before heading back to finish the final few yards before the line. “This was the first race where I didn’t care about time. I’m surprised we broke 2:20,” said Matty. That goes right back to what he said earlier about the weather.
Like the classy competitor that he is, Matt hung by the finish to wait for Blair to come through. Pelletier was in the front of the line to congratulate his competition. As the two made their way from the finish area, the cameras closed in and the interview requests started to come closer. While it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, with the adrenaline still coursing through the veins and the big television cameras right there, Matty took a moment to show he’s still down on the underground. He turned to the Level iPhones amidst all the chaos and shouted “Level. Renner. My man!” It was a nice surprise to hear that, and I couldn’t help but respond with a cocky ‘smallest camera, biggest coverage’ remark. Mrs EJN had the live feed going via Persiscope, and right after that Jim Johnson tweeted out that very comment. It’s amazing what what social media allows you to do out at races!
Back to the race… Through 9 miles, Matt and Blair were comfortably cruising out in front, with Eric Macknight and a relay runner just a step behind. By the time the runners were fighting the Battery St hill, things had broken open, but almost deceptively so.
Teal turned a 5 second deficit into a 5 second lead onto the hill. The powerful move gave him the lead at a key point early in the second half of the race but played right into the crafty hands of Pelletier. Matt held back on the hill, knowing full well he could make up any ground lost later on. The contenders had separated themselves from the pack now. Would Macknight be able to hang on for third?
It was actually David Sinclair, of the hometown Green Mountain Athletic Association that finished with a strong second half to nab the last podium spot in 2:26:17. Macknight came through shortly after in 2:28:39 and was just able to hold off a late-surging Scott Leslie (2:28:42).
For the masters, there wasn’t much of a surprise there. It almost isn’t fair to the other masters runners when Michael Wardian shows up. And you know he’ll show up. Wardian has been coming to Burlington for this race for years and is a fan favorite. The 41 year old road warrior ran a 2:29:20, good for 6th overall and well ahead of the next closest masters runner.
Actually, the next closest masters runner just so happened to the first senior runner. 51 year old Tom Thurston of the GMAA ran a very impressive 2:41:53 and finished 22nd overall to claim the top senior (or ‘grandmaster’) spot.
Speaking of the seniors, there was an epic battle between Michael Cooney (Whirlaway) and E-j Hrynowski (Great Lowell) that went right down to the wire. E-j dug deep and seemingly caught Cooney by surprise. E-j epitomized the Angry Chicken that is club is sometimes referred to as he bore down to catch Cooney. The three second gap separating the two at the end is a little misleading because E-j’s surge carried him past and through his opponent. End result was a 2:58:05 for E-j to Cooney’s 2:58:08.
Wardian took some time to talk to the Level after the race, and explained that he only has a half marathon this coming weekend. What he’s really gearing up for is the Western States 100, which is coming up very soon. A short while later, Michael made his way back to us and asked if we were ‘still doing the live thing’. It took us a moment to respond because we’re still not used to those questions, but quickly realized ‘yeah, we are still live!’. Wardian then said hi to his family at home and shouted out to his sponsors. That was just as surprising as Matty’s shoutout and pretty cool too.
Speaking of Matty, here’s our interview with him:
And finally, check out Scott Mason Photo’s gallery of the event. They make great souvenirs, either for yourself or that special runner in your life that just ran the race!