There were 4,168 participants in this weekend’s Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston at last count, and many lingered at the Festival in the Park this afternoon as the two-day event and fund-raiser wound to a close.

Last year the event rose $1.1 million to help the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center and was expected to surpass that, although the final amount raised wasn’t announced before the closing ceremonies today.

From start to finish on the 50-mile course, actor and Maine native Patrick Dempsey stopped to greet, hug and talk to Mainers who came to cheer participants in the event he created. He stopped more than a half dozen times to hear stories from those touched by cancer.

Olympic bronze medalist and eight-time Tour de France competitor Levi Leipheimer, who rode with Dempsey, was in awe after he crossed the finish line.

“It’s incredible to see the support, and to hear the individual stories, both last night and today. I think that’s what stands out, all the individual stories you hear,” said Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, Calif.