Williston Women Wow at Vermont City Marathon

Two place in top 10 Vermont women; dozens of Williston residents participate

By Kim Howard
Observer Staff

All seven marathons Williston resident Megan Valentine has run in her life she has run with her father.

They didn’t run together in the first marathon because her father took off early. Three races they’ve run side-by-side. On Sunday at the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon, Valentine’s father told her to leave him behind.

“This year he told me he’d only run one mile with me and then I was on my own,” Valentine, 27, said.

Valentine, who has lived in Williston since age six and started her running career at Champlain Valley Union High School, was the first Vermont woman to cross the finish line. Her father, Dr. John Valentine, came in 17 minutes and 30 seconds later.

“I’m still a little sore, but feeling good,” Megan Valentine said Tuesday, adding that she’s overwhelmed by all the attention. “I think anyone I’ve ever talked to at work came to see me today. Most of them were saying ‘Wow, Meg, we had no idea you could go that fast.’ And of course my response was I had no idea either.”

Megan Valentine’s time of three hours and seven minutes was her best marathon time to date, she said. Her goal had been to run it under three hours and ten minutes.

“When I crossed the finish line, I was ecstatic,” she said.

Kelsey Allen, 22, was the second Williston woman to place among the top 10 Vermont women. Allen moved to Williston in September from New Hampshire and works at the Pine Ridge School.

“I was happy because I still improved on my time from last year,” said Allen, whose net time was a second under three hours and 22 minutes.

Allen said a highlight of her second marathon was “all of the people who come out to cheer for you. It really gives you a lot of positive energy to keep going and have fun.”

Spectators lined the race route, with taiko drummers at Battery Street, bagpipers at the bike path on Staniford Road, and kids and adults in the neighborhoods through which the race route snaked.

“The crowd at the marathon is unbelievable,” said Jim Pelkey, 49, who has lived in Williston for 18 years. “Every year I always see faces of friends of mine that I don’t always see during the year but they’re in the crowd cheering me on.”

The last three or four miles are Pelkey’s toughest, he said, because “you’re purely running on your will to want to finish. … The crowd at the finish line is totally the best experience you ever have, besides your wife giving birth to your children, and marrying your wife.”

Lyman Clark, 48, said a highlight for him was catching up and running alongside Patti Dillon.

“I got to run with (Dillon) for about a mile or so on the beltline,” he said. Dillon is a four-time winner of the Honolulu marathon and the former American and World Record holder in the 20-kilometer and half marathon races.

Running all 26.2 miles was not necessary for Maddie Zebertavage, 14, to feel satisfied. Maddie ran 6.8 miles on the junior mixed relay team “Williston Wild Things.”

“It was really fun. It was a good experience,” Maddie said. Her favorite part, she added, probably was watching the start of the race, “just to see a lot of people out there running and putting their all into the sport.”