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


Looks of calm, looks of determination, looks of pain and of pride: the expressions were as varied as the runners themselves, crossing the finish line of the annual Chilmark Road Race on Saturday morning - or, for the walkers, afternoon.

Just over 1,500 people ran the race, ranging from six to 79 years old. The youngest and oldest runners finished just 14 seconds apart. Some runners were turned away toward the end of registration, since 1,500 is the town's set capacity for the race.


Boarding the shuttle from Beetlebung Corner to the starting line of the 28th annual Chilmark Road Race on Saturday, one could smell the excitement.

The excitement, as it happened, smelled like 50 sweaty runners in a school bus. Race officials blared Highway to Hell by AC/DC in the background, a subtle nod to the day's combination of 90 degree heat and 80 per cent humidity.

The T-shirts spilling out of the brown paper bag onto A.V. and Dora Morrow's floor may be nicely creased and look brand new, but don't be fooled: 27 years and 83.7 miles worth of Middle Road in Chilmark are locked inside those cotton fibers.


Said Jack Davies: "It doesn't rain on the Chilmark Road Race."

And for the first 25 years, it didn't. Runners last year, in fact, were reported as traversing the scenic stretch of Middle Road "against a canvas of shadows and golden light." That was hardly the case this year, as runners arrived at Beetlebung Corner decked out in homemade raingear, most of it fashioned from kitchen trash bags. But Saturday morning's thick gray clouds and spotty rain didn't faze the participants; it only put a damper on the takeoff and fostered some ironic humor.


The noisy, motley group of runners suddenly waxed silent and awaited the bullhorn. When it blasted, the soles of more than a thousand running shoes began pummelling Middle Road against a canvas of shadows and golden light.

On Saturday morning the 25th annual Chilmark Road Race began just as its predecessors - but with an even richer sense of history, and featuring a wonderful new gadget.

Hugh Weisman organized the first Chilmark Road Race in 1978 as a fun run for the kids at the Chilmark Community Center. He never imagined that tomorrow, he'd be presiding over the 25th annual event, nor that the road race would grow to landmark stature on the calendar of the Island summer.

"It's been very gratifying," said Mr. Weisman, who now gives up a week of vacation every year to run the race. "I ran into somebody in New York this winter who says he lives for the road race - he's flying up for it.