September 15, 2013

Running: Half marathon now part of schedule at MDI Marathon

By JOHN ROLFE

The Mount Desert Island Marathon's many fine qualities include first-rate speakers at the Saturday night prerace pasta dinner. Dick Beardsley, John L. Parker and Joan Benoit Samuelson are among former presenters.

This year, the night before the 12th running of the race on Sunday, Oct. 20, the speaker will be Zoe Romano, the Portland native and long-distance marvel whose most recent accomplishment is running the entire Tour de France route, a feat unique to her.

Romano raised $168,000-plus for the World Pediatric Project while doing so. Check out her website, www.zoegoesrunning.com.

The race is on Sunday, the dinner at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Desert Island High (aka Mile 26 Cafe for the evening) on Route 232. Tickets are $18, ($16 for 12 and under) or $25 (space allowing) on the night.

See www.mdi.org for more info and to register.

Also note that MDI, a point-to-point course from Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor, has added a half-marathon and become a two-headed beast like the Maine Marathon and half coming up on Sunday, Oct. 6.

"As you know I am fairly old-school and resisted adding other events to keep the emphasis on those running 26.2 miles," commented race founder/director Gary Allen. "However, I guess I have gradually softened to the idea, and we are completely thrilled to offer people what they have been asking for."

The 13.1-mile race will begin at the halfway point in Northeast Harbor at 8:30 a.m., (a half-hour after the full marathon start) and so, as Allen notes, include in its early miles "the gorgeous stretch along Somes Sound." There will be a bus to ferry runners from Bar Harbor to the start. Again, see the race website for more. 

AMID THE TREND toward for-profit races, it's all the more important to highlight those devoted to worthy causes.

The Veteran's Fundraiser Run, comprised of a 5K, 5-miler, kids' fun run and adaptive wheelchair or hand-cycle fun race, is set for Sunday, Sept. 29, at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

"A challenging blend of paved roads and grassy trails" is promised; walkers are welcome; and all proceeds benefit the Veterans Adaptive Sports & Training (VAST) program at Pineland.

VAST provides free programs such as archery, cycling and Nordic skiing to veterans with physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress, and to veterans who volunteer, race director Kristina Sabasteanski explains. You may remember her as a two-time U.S. Olympian in the biathlon, and one of the eight athletes who carried in the World Trade Center's U.S. flag at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

At Pineland, the "fun" events begin at 9:30 a.m. (chair/cycle) and 9:50 a.m. (kids); the footraces at 10 a.m. See, and sign up at, www.PinelandFarms.org/VAST, or contact Sabasteanski at ksabaste@maine.rr.com or 310-8694. 

THE FROLIC 4 FLIPPERS 5K is on for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the University of New England campus in Biddeford. The race is a benefit for the school's Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation program, said race director Shannon Prendiville, who is a seal and turtle rehabber.

MARC, which treats more than 100 sick and injured critters annually, lost a chunk of federal funding this year, so the event, whose fundraising goal is $20,000 and which includes a pledge component, becomes more important to the program.

The on-campus course is a series of loops, with "a couple of little inclines." Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m., and there's a 1-mile kids race (ages 5-12) at 9:30, with seal and dolphin mascots in attendance.

Last year's winner by almost three minutes was Chris Harmon, 25, of Scarborough, in 16:10. Tamlyn Frederick, also 25, of Brunswick was the top female and eighth overall in 21:05, with Julie Smyth less than 7 seconds behind.

"A lot of turns, partially on trails and partially on roads, but all-in-all pretty fast," Harmon remembers the course.

To register and find more info, check the Frolic's Facebook page, active.com, or www.une.edu.marc. Attractions include a raffle with excellent prizes. 

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

jrolfe@pressherald.com

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