A neat sidelight to next Sunday’s Sugarloaf Marathon is that 20 years after winning the race in 3 hours, 4 minutes and 12 seconds, Eileen Dunfey of Cape Elizabeth will run again, to mark the victory’s anniversary.

Eileen’s brother Bob, also a formidable multiple-marathoner, remembers that his then-35-year-old sister ran without a watch, and also stopped to pat the famous race-spectating llamas during the 19th mile.

Bob, 59, and sister Maryanne, 50, will also be racing. “When I started running, I was known as ‘Eileen’s brother,’ Dunfey added. Somebody had suggested that I run a marathon. I thought it was a stupid idea.”

Since that suggestion Dunfey has run 117 marathons, including 17 Sugarloafs, with a PR of 2:49 at Columbus in 1998. Eileen has run almost 60, Maryanne is in the 30s. Then there’s brother Brian, with 66.

Bob also notes that another Cape Elizabethan, the inimitable Jim Toulouse, won Sugarloaf in 1991, with a fine 2:32:30.

The marathon and 15K already had almost 800 runners signed up last week, so the event should see the largest field of runners in its 29-year history. Last year there were 644 finishers in the two races, with 338 in the marathon and 306 in the 15K (that’s 224 men and 114 women in the marathon, 127 men and 179 women in the 15K).

Registration is open through 11 p.m. Thursday at $78 for the marathon and $38 for the shorter race. (There’s no on-site or day-of registration.) Sign up at to run www.sugarloaf.com/marathon.

The event benefits the Sugarloaf Region Charitable Trust. Cash prizes — $500, $300, $200 — go to top marathoners, male and female, and also three deep in the 15K ($300, $100, $50).

There’s a $300 marathon bonus for breaking 2:30 and 2:50, male/female, and a $200 15K bonus, for a sub-47 or sub-52 finish.

Last year’s winners were Gabe Helmlinger of Cambridge, Mass., in 2:30:47 and Amanda Lebelle of Rockland in 3:02:02. Ellsworth’s Louie Luchini nailed the 15K in 46:12, as did Carry Buterbaugh of South Portland, in 59:05.

 

NEW RACE: There will be a Memorial Day Main Street Mile in Freeport on the holiday. Actually there will be two races, an all-comers family event beginning at 8:15 a.m., and a high school mile following at 8:45.

The course will be fast, from the middle school on Kendall Lane, out to Main St. and down to the corner of Holcomb (near the high school). The course has just two (right) turns.

Granite State will do timing, awards are being arranged, and no surprises here, Freeport townie Joan Benoit Samuelson is supporting the race, which was created by the Nike factory store and Freeport Recreation “to help get people active, and promote fitness,” explained Anthony Johnson of Freeport Rec.

T-shirts go to the first 300, the fee is $10 or $8 per person for a family of four or more. You can sign up at active.com or runreg.com or at the Nike store at Village Station, or at the middle school on race morning until 8 a.m. High-schoolers can do both races.

 

GOOD OL’ RACE SERIES: Yes it’s the weekly Back Cove events, on Wednesday evenings at 6. This summer, the much-loved series enjoys its ninth running and will present 17 events, running every Wednesday and ending on Aug. 31.

Register at http://backcove.runtowin.com or visit sponsor Maine Running Company at 563 Forest Ave. in Portland or 89 Maine Street in Brunswick.

 

COOL RACE AND MORE: The Esperanza (aka Safe Passage) 5K Run and Walk is next Sunday at 8 a.m. at Greely High in Cumberland. This is the seventh year for the event and it has a couple of new features. Shirts (to the first 200) are Atayne, and a blend of cotton and polyester, both recycled. Atayne is also hosting a shoe drive, so bring your old running shoes and even non-running shoes, which will be donated to nonprofit Soles4Souls.

Oh yes, there will be a footrace, too. Registration will be available on race day from 6:30-7:30 a.m. (the fee will be $25 then, up from $18 pre-registration until Friday at 11:59 p.m.). You can sign up at safepassage.org/esperanza5K. Winners last year, when the event was held in September, were 17-year-old Ben Woodbury of Yarmouth in 19:12 and Danielle Skillin, 32, of North Yarmouth in 20:27 (fifth overall).

 

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

[email protected]