The Maple Leaf Half Marathon is once again a fixture on the late summer calendar in Manchester and the mountains! Beginning in the late 1970s, the Maple Leaf had grown in stature and appeal, attracting world-class athletes and crowds of over 1,300 runners. The brainchild of local restaurateur, Guy Thomas (Zoey's), who passed away on December 30, 2017 (please see obituary at the bottom of the page), the Maple Leaf was nationally famous, being seen as a tune-up for the New York City Marathon. In time, the race was organized by a number of other individuals and groups, but faded from the local scene.
In 2007, the Manchester Lions Club, along with the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce partnered and brought the Maple Leaf back to life. Although the course differed slightly from the original, it was still challenging yet enjoyable.
In 2015 the Manchester Lions Club partnered with Make-A-Wish Vermont, adding energy and excitement to the event. Make-A-Wish Vermont remained a partner for three years.
In 2019, the Manchester Lions Club handed the Maple Leaf over to a group of community minded runners who strive to continue the Legacy of Guy Thomas.
The Maple Leaf begins at the Manchester Parks and Recreation Center and snakes its way along backcountry roads, over to route 7 and then back to the Recreation Center for the finish at a certified 13.1 miles. At the same time, there will be a 5-Kilometer run/walk for runners/walkers who aren't up to the challenge of a half marathon.
All proceeds from the race will be donated to deserving organizations within the Manchester community.