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In Spring, New Englanders' Thoughts Turn to...Athletics

The Willougbhy Triathlon takes place in Vermont
The Willougbhy Triathlon takes place in Vermont
Phil White

While the Boston Marathon brings thousands of athletes to town, athletics of all kinds stir the New England countryside, even the most unusual kinds.

Cycling Rolls Into Vermont
Cycling Rolls Into Vermont
VermontVacation.com

"Actletes" compete for laughs in Boston, for example. AT Comedy Sportz Boston, two teams of improvisational "Actletes" coompete for laughs, points, and every night, the Stanley Cup's lesser known cousin: the Meaningless Trophy. Like any championship league, matches rely on Loyal Fanz in the audience to offer suggestions, and a referee calls any fouls and keeps the action moving.

This spring, after six months of successful weekends at Somerville's Davis Square Theatre, CSzBos holds its first "downtown" matches and an upcoming multi-city team tournament/benefit. Aon April 10 the ctletes held matches at clubs in Boston's financial district. This coming weekend, ComedySportz Boston hosts teams from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. for a Boston Marathon Improv Tournament and Benefit. A portion of the proceeds go to the Sean Collier Memorial Scholarship Fund (Collier was one of the four people killed in conjunction with the bombing.)

On May 3, CSzBos performa a free "pop-up travel" show at the Oak Square YMCA, co-sponsored by Brighton Main Streets and the YMCA of Greater Boston. And never forgetting any athlete's or actlete's Number One fan is (usually) Mom, the teams return to Davis Square Theatre on May 11 for a Mother's Day brunch and match, part of the 2014 Women in Comedy Festival.

Comedy Sportz Boston is the newest venture for entrepreneur David Goldstein and is part of the World Comedy League, which consists of about 24 Comedy Sportz venues around the world. For schedule and tickets visit www.comedysportzboston.com.

Nearby, in Vermont, where state residents lead the nation in frequent exercise, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing invites all athletes and nature lovers to come experience sports and wellness events in the Green Mountain State. Beginning this month, VDTM is launching a sports and wellness campaign to increase awareness and participation in the may healthful events and outdoor attractions the state has to offer visitors and residents alike, from marathons and hiking trails to bicycling and yoga retreats.

VDTM is working with Run Vermont to promote and grow New England's third largest marathon and summer series of running events. The department is sponsoring Wanderlust's annual return to Vermont for a multi-day yoga festival, partnering with Vermont State Parks on new outdoor initiatives, as well as working with statewide marathon organizers and the mountain biking industry to grow events' attendance.

Considering population size, no state is better at producing Winter Olympians than Vermont. But summer in Vermont is equally active; there's an ultra-marathon, adventure race, century ride, distance sqim or yoga retreat for all athletic appetites. Sports enthusiasts come to train, race, compete, tour and experience the state's beautiful landscape. Seventy five percent of marathon runners in the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon come from out of state. The organization's 5k races are growing most quickly.

Among upcoming events in Vermont:

June 4-8: Tour de Kingdom, Northeast Kingdom cycling

June 28 and 29: New England Trifest, Fairlee, triathlon and duathlon

July 6: Mad Marathon, Mad River Valley, running

July 12; Kingdom Swim, Newport, swimming

August 9: Harpoon Point to Point, Windsor, cycling

August 31: Labor Day 15k, Burlington, running

September 21: St. Albans Raid Half Marathon, running

For more information, go to VermontVacation.com.