Pictures of fallen soldiers flanked by American flags marked every kilometer of the route from Ogunquit Center to Portland’s Monument Square.

About 300 runners participated on Sunday in the fourth Run for the Fallen Maine, a 65-kilometer relay to honor the 79 soldiers with ties to the state who have died since Sept. 11, 2001.

For some, this was the first year they had a real reason to go.

Ray Goyet Jr., who grew up in Westbrook, said about 50 of his family members traveled from as far as California and Texas to remember his son Cpl. Mark Goyet, who died in Afghanistan in June at the age of 22.

“The event has been a tremendous source of comfort,” said Goyet, who ran the kilometer of the route that was dedicated to his son.

Many families gathered around the pictures of the soldiers they knew and cheered on runners as they passed.

Melissa Marquis of Wells, who ran 30 miles of the route, said seeing the families was motivation to keep going.

“You run like you’ve never run before,” she said. “That’s what gets you through.”

Starting in Ogunquit about 8 a.m., the course mostly followed Route 1 to South Portland, where the runners regrouped by Waterman Drive and together crossed the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland.

The dozens of runners that made the final stretch down Congress Street just before 3 p.m. were greeted in Monument Square by bagpipe music and a clapping crowd.

Some wore buttons with faces of the soldiers they were there to honor. The family of Spc. Dustin Harris had T-shirts made up for the run.

Harris, who grew up in Patten, was killed in Iraq in 2006. He was 21 years old.

“So many forget the meaning of why they served,” said Harris’ grandmother Sandra Troutt of Sherman, who was attending the run for the third year.

Although the mood was celebratory as the runners came into the square, it turned somber as they gathered for a short ceremony by the monument, where there were more pictures of the 77 men and two women who died.

Some hugging and others shedding tears, members of the crowd listened to poems about soldiers and joined together to sing “God Bless America.”

Spc. Harris’ younger brother Dylan, 24, said there’s one reason he returns to the event every year.

“Just to remember,” he said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at

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