Maine’s 2010 road racing season is looking springlike, as in blooming and booming. To take but three examples, beyond today’s near-capped-as-of-this-writing Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K:

Registrations are up 40 percent from this time last year for the Sea Dogs Father’s Day 5K (June 20) and up 30 percent for the Maine Marathon and Half Marathon (Oct. 3), and entries for the Bar Harbor Bank & Trust MDI Half Marathon (Sept. 18) filled up six weeks ago.

In another welcome sign of the season, here comes the weekly Back Cove Series, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Portland.

This is the eighth year for the series, which like the 10-year-old Doggies moms’ day race, has grown every year. Last year overall participation hit 1,200 — that many people ran at least one race — with a peak event registration of 230. And T-shirts sold out.

The 17-race series, sponsored and coordinated by Maine Running Company, runs every Wednesday through Sept. 1. You can sign up online at backcove.runtowin.com, or register at the race. The event is still free, but donations are welcome and benefit Portland Trails, another sponsor.

Mizuno is back as a staunch supporter, noted MRC’s John Rogers, giving multiple shoes to series winners, as well as to the Community Spirit Award winner (last year Craig Whiton of Portland, who ran every race in addition to volunteering).

“The only change this year is ending before Labor Day, to keep it a true ‘summer series,’ ” said Rogers. “Many people use it as a midweek tempo run, and it’s become a key part of summer racing in Portland.”

 

THE FINISHLYNX Orrington 10K last Saturday was won handily by Bucksport native Mike Bunker, 27, now of Rockport, in 32:09, with Adam Goode of Bangor a bit behind at 32:47, one second ahead of Joe Capeheart, 30, also of Bangor. Elizabeth Brunton, 25, of beauteous Birch Harbor raced a fine 39:24 to finish 13th overall and claim the women’s title, with Kristine Guaraldo, 33, of South Portland second in 40:43.

Orrington was the third in this year’s TradeWinds Market Place/Sub 5 Race Series, and if it seems early for the third race in the series already, well they don’t mess around up there.

The 10K was preceded by the late-March, Bill Pinkham-honoring Flattop 5K in Lamoine; Louie Luchini crushed that in 14:58, and Brunton led the women in 19:36. Sub 5 is so far ahead, the 2010 series actually started in 2009, with the Epic Finale 5K in Bangor on Dec. 27 (winners were Riley Masters, 19, of Bangor in 15:48 and Molly Peverada, 20, of Hampden in 20:07).

Next up is the (TransCanada) Sugarloaf Marathon and 15K next Sunday. You can register for the 28th edition of the marathon at marathonguide.com (there is no registration on race day); or for the 15K at Ayotte’s Country Store (cash or check only). Be sure to see www.sugarloaf.com for full info.

Male and female marathon winners take home $500, plus $300 if they go under 2:30 or 2:50, respectively. The prize money goes three deep ($300 for second and $200 for third). The 15K payoff is $300/$100/$50, plus a $200 bonus for a male winner under 47 minutes or a woman winner under 52.

 

CLEARLY, RUNNERS in Maine are not endangered as a species. But many of them may well be concerned about species that are in peril, and did you know that May is Endangered Species Month, as recognized by Gov. Baldacci these past four years?

So I learned from the release for the Race to Stop Extinction, to be held on the Back Cove course at 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 23. There will also be a kids’ fun run and a postrace party at Payson Park, with music, face painting and “organic refreshments.”

Actually, the T-shirts will be organic as well, helping make the race the only “green” 5K in Maine, a distinction earned by abiding by the “Required eco-Practices” of Athletes For A Fit Planet (see www.afitplanet.com, which also links to Maine Trash Runners, a brand-new clean-environment meet-up group).

The 5K is $20 to run or walk; the kids run is $15. All proceeds from the race will be donated to the Endangered Species Coalition. You can also pledge support. For information, see www.race2stopextinction.org or e-mail race director/founder Rachel Piper at [email protected]

 

John Rolfe of Portland is a staff writer and a road runner. He can be reached at 791-6429 or at:

[email protected]