Runners Prepare for 30th Annual Vermont City Marathon

New England's second-largest marathon, behind Boston, is this weekend — the People's United Bank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington.

In 2018, the event is celebrating a milestone 30th year.

"I'm always excited," said hand-cyclist Pat Standen, who's racing in Sunday's marathon. "It builds community."

Standen will be among roughly 8,000 racers who will wind their way through Burlington, cheered on by huge crowds of spectators.

The wheeled racer has won his division three times.

"I always get a little worried until the gun goes off, and then I put all those worries behind and just race the race," Standen said.

Race director Peter Delaney said he expects participants from all 50 states and several foreign countries, giving the region's businesses a big boost.

"Whether you're running, whether you're volunteering, or just out there cheering somebody on, it's become a staple of the community," Delaney said.

For this milestone year, 2014 Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi will be running a relay leg and making special appearances.

"You get the feel of a big-city race like New York or Boston, in a small city like Burlington," Delaney said of the Vermont City Marathon.

As the hours tick down to Sunday, Run Vermont's office is buzzing with last-minute preparations. The big tents are going up on the city's waterfront, and portable bathrooms are arriving.

Along the route, staffers of the Burlington Public Works Department have been filling potholes from this rough winter — both for race day and for the drivers who use the busy roads the rest of the time.

"Trying to get all the ankle-breakers out of the road," Brian Bessette said of the department's work to attack potholes. "There's a lot of divots in the road, and we're smoothing them out for them."

While there's a robust security plan in place for Sunday, the Burlington Police Department has asked spectators to lend a hand in that effort, reminding them, "If you see something, say something."

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