With the announcement this week that Westbrook will host its second large outdoor event this summer, city officials are anticipating that 20,000 or more people will visit the community, with everyone feeling the positive economic impact.

In August, Westbrook will welcome the nationally recognized obstacle course event known as Tough Mudder, and in September, will play host community to Bike Maine, a weeklong bicycle trek through the state that begins and ends in Riverbank Park.

Tough Mudder, according to Bill Baker, assistant city administrator for business and community relations, has the potential to bring roughly 15,000 participants into the city and onto Sunset Ridge Golf Links.

According to a press release, Tough Mudder events are 10-12 mile long “hardcore obstacle courses designed to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie.”

The event is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 23-24. Event organizers pride themselves on creating innovative courses, and from previous events, have raised more than $6.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, a veterans’ service organization.

Jon Barker, the general manager of Tough Mudder, said Wednesday that the organization “can’t wait to enter Maine for the first time,” and that he appreciates the work of Baker, as well as Sunset Ridge owner Allen Hayman, and “the city of Westbrook as a whole in making this event possible.”

Barker said Tough Mudder organizers are always looking to make courses more difficult and original, and that Westbrook can provide the backdrop for that.

“At Tough Mudder, continual improvement is the only constant,” he said. “We spend every waking minute thinking about ways to put on better events in new locations. Westbrook offers rolling hills, rock walls, tranquil streams, thick woods, and plenty of open fields, making the location a perfect fit for ‘Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.’”

The event press release also provides a description of the course designed for Sunset Ridge, promising a thorough challenge.

“This ain’t no country club. Parts of the Sunset Ridge Golf Links have been decommissioned for years and Mother Nature has turned the once well-kept lawns into prime Mudder proving grounds,” the release states. “We’re joining forces with = Westbrook to push the course boundaries into some densely forested mountain bike and snowmobile trails. Leave your golf cleats at home and don’t expect a caddie to help get you through this crushing course.”

Baker said both events will have an economic impact. Tough Mudder, he said, has the ability to generate millions of dollars.

“It’s extraordinarily helpful in terms of the city’s image,” he said Wednesday. “Bringing kayakers to the river, soliciting the Bike Maine event, and now Tough Mudder, is intended to bring people who will see what the city has to offer, spend money, and hopefully return for other reasons.”

According to a financial report released following Tough Mudder’s event in Boston last year, the immediate area felt an economic impact of more than $9 million, with 15,065 participants and some 7,000 spectators.

Baker calls these recent announcements the results of the city’s “concerted effort to put feet on the street. It’s an import goal and we expect gas stations, lodgings, restaurants, corner stores and everybody to be busy and benefit from this,” he said.

The Bike Maine event begins Saturday, Sept. 6. City Clerk Lynda Adams has taken the lead in organizing the event details for the city, which will see roughly 350 cyclists begin a seven-day, 350-mile trek past some of Maine’s most notable bodies of water.

This year’s course, called “Pedaling the Waterways,” will kick off on the banks of Westbrook’s Presumpscot River and wind past Sebago Lake, the Belgrade Lakes, Boothbay Harbor, Bath, and eventually back to Westbrook.

Adams said Tuesday that the event has provided her with some unique planning challenges, but that the cyclists are coming from all over and many will be experiencing Westbrook for the first time. She said there are people from as far away as Japan who are registered for the event.

Adams said she expects the city to have a parade, fireworks, and further entertainment for the visiting cyclists, many of whom will be camping in the park, with the city also organizing a traditional bean supper for the evening of Sept. 6, with help from local restaurateur James Tranchemontagne and other volunteers. Adams said Bike Maine pays for the food, but the city is charged with preparing it.

She added that Bike Maine organizers “want to leave a lasting impression with people who have never been to Maine before,” and that Westbrook wants to accomplish that same goal.

On the morning of Sunday, Sept. 7, Adams hopes to have a big send-off.

“We’re the beginning of this whole tour, and we want to make sure we send them off the right way,” she said. “We want them to have a really good impression to start off their week.”

Cyclists will return the following Saturday, when there will be a traditional barbecue for the returning bikers, marking the end of the event.

Baker said that in both cases, he sent unsolicited proposals to the event organizers. He said he is holding a press conference at Sunset Ridge on March 20 at 9:30 a.m. to formally announce the Tough Mudder event.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.