Vineyard Gazette
The First Annual Chilmark Road Race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday morning rain or shine.
Chilmark Road Race
Vineyard Gazette
Ten years ago, the Chilmark Road Race was small. Barely two hundred showed up for the inaugural run. But even this number was more than organizers expected, as they busily hand printed extra numbers and apologized for running out of T-shirts.
Chilmark Road Race
Kate Dario
Defeating a crowd of nearly 1,200 runners and soaring thermometers, Michael Schroeder won the men’s division and Sarah Tully won the women’s division.
Chilmark Road Race


starting runners

As 1,500 runners anxiously milled about the starting line on Middle Road Saturday Morning, West Tisbury selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter brandished a streamer-topped car antenna, holding it up to the sky.

“In case I need to wave down a med-flight,” he told curious fellow runners in the 34th Chilmark Road Race.

The sweat-soaked Mr. Manter had already run the course that morning in preparation for a half-marathon in Lowell and was beginning to feel the miles.

“Stay in front of me and you’ll be all right,” he said.



The Chilmark Road Race is about much more than speed. How many contests pit septuagenarians against seven-year-olds? How often do you see Crocs on the starting line? Where else do people doing a 20-minute mile get such an enthusiastic round of cheers?

When Hugh Weisman organized the first annual Chilmark Road Race some 32 years ago, he wasn’t exactly sure how many people would show up. Mr. Weisman, an avid runner who at the time was offering a clinic at the Chilmark Community Center, estimated beforehand that 200 runners might show up.

Maybe more, maybe less.

But he never imagined that the little race, stretching over five kilometers along Middle Road, would grow to become the phenomenon it is now.


Susan Wilson is a runner. She runs everywhere she goes — Egypt, France, Viet Nam, England, her home in Princeton, N.J. and Chilmark. They’re all good places to accelerate her body past a walk. In fact, at 78, she was the fastest female in her age category in Chilmark Road Race last Saturday. She has won that honor 11 times, in her 60s and her 70s.

With the sounding of the horn, some 1,600 runners in the 31st Chilmark Road Race took off. The herd shot toward the press truck like raptors in a Steven Spielberg film and the red pickup sped up to avoid being overtaken. John Ciccarelli was at the front, his face just feet from the photographers’ lenses. Behind him two boys in pink shirts attempted a 100-meter dash in the beginning of the 3.1-mile race and soon dropped off to the side.


The Chilmark Road Race is a chimerical beast, part family-oriented charity jog, part cutthroat competition. Perhaps the contradictory spirit of the now-legendary institution was best summed up by Willy Anderson, age 10. When asked about his plans for the race, the bespectacled youth declared, "I really want to beat my mom. We'll start out together, but at the end I'll try to beat her."