'Woody' and friends team up in 100-mile relay
BRATTLEBORO — They meandered into town and congregated outside Burrows Specialized Sports on Main Street in Brattleboro as the sun began to rise on Saturday morning. Ranging in ages from 21 to 71, they all came for one purpose.
To run for Woody.
The second weekend of August would, in normal years, represent the date of the annual 100 on 100 relay race, where groups of six athletes run from The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe to Okemo Resort in Ludlow. For the past five years, Brattleboro's own Robert Woodworth, better known as Woody, was an eager participant. Woody was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease four years ago. Never one to stand back from a challenge, Woody has continued to inspire by pursuing a wide range of yearly endurance events including his favorites; Race to the Top of Vermont (Mt. Mansfield) and the 100 on 100 relay after his diagnosis.
"Any opportunity to get a group safely together is a good thing," stated Woody. "I wanted to see if I can still be part of the group without being a drag. I think it worked out quite well."
As has been the case with all other running events in 2020, the 100 on 100 was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, this did not deter Woody and several of his friends from running 100 miles together. They just had to get creative.
Woodrow Warriors 100 Sometimes On 100 is born
Thanks to some expert race planning by the likes of Deena Chadwick, Maxine Stent and Elizabeth Bianchi, all close friends of Woody, a 100-mile loop that started at Burrows, meandered up Route 30, then traveled east to Springfield and returned on Route 5 back to Burrows was born. In total, 15 runners making up two full relay teams participated. Among them was newly appointed Brattleboro Selectboard member, Ian Goodnow, who ran 15 miles from Brattleboro to Townshend in the early morning hours to contribute to the cause.
"It was a real honor to have an opportunity to provide a small gesture of my appreciation to an individual who has given so much to his community," stated Goodnow.
For his part, and as has been a constant love throughout his racing years, Woody elected to run the hills. Woody climbed up past Magic Mountain with eager youngsters, and former Brattleboro Colonels, Josh Hanson and Dylan Dejordy offering encouragement along the way.
"It was inspiring," stated Hanson. "It drove me to push harder."
The run concluded at approximately 9:30 p.m., more than 15 hours after it began. The final leg for Woody was brief, a run from the Elliot Street Fire Station back to the front of Burrows. Flanked by his appropriately distanced team members as they approached the intersection with Main Street, the jubilant group who followed Woody to the finish line made it clear that despite the restrictions placed on us all due to COVID-19, the spirit of Brattleboro remains intact, and Woody, the man who personifies it best, is too.
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