Vermont Offers the Ultimate Mountain Challenge

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May 24, 2005

Jay, VT. — The Jay Challenge is back and is expected to be as grueling as ever. The Crossover, Marathon and MTB events will be held over three days, from July 29th to 31st this summer.

The Challenge includes three events — the Crossover, a 26-mile craft race across Lake Memphrémagog from Magog (Quebec) to Newport (Vermont); the Mountain Marathon, a 28-mile cross-country run that includes, among other things, crossing a 50-foot wide river; and the Mountain Bike (or MTB), a 64-mile mountain bike race that climbs a total elevation of 10,500 feet on a mixture of trails, logging roads, and singletrack. New this season, the Marathon leg will also include a half marathon option for competitors who are hesitant about attempting a full marathon. It is, however, still 16 and a half miles over rugged terrain and will take at least 3 hours to complete.

Each event is held on a separate day and athletes can register in either the solo or the team category. Individual athletes must race in all three events; teams of two or three athletes can divide the events but each teammate must complete their entire event by themselves — teammates cannot substitute in partway through an event for any reason.

As the Jay Challenge website warns: if you are not sure if this race is for you - it's probably not. Cummulative finish times for all three events are usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 to 24 hours and DNFs for solo racers is as high as 50%. Even experienced marathoners find the course extremely challenging.

"The run was, to say the least, an incredibly grueling and unforgettable experience. I was, to say the least, HUMBLED, writes Bruce Perry, an experienced runner, in his marathon journal (available at jaychallenge.com).

Competing in this type of race isn't for everyone but it's almost as exciting to watch as it is to participate (and not nearly as painful). Race organizers encourage everyone to come out and cheer on the competitors — sometimes an enthusiastic crowd gives the racers the encouragement they need to get through this incredibly demanding race.

For more details or to register, please visit the Jay Challenge website, jaychallenge.com.

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