LEWISTON — The Dempsey Challenge will run just one day this September, down from three days last year, in response to participant feedback.

Dempsey Center Events Manager Deneka Deletetsky said participants have asked for Sunday cycling events to be moved to Saturday for years. Finishing late Sunday after the event has ended has not been ideal for the Sunday cyclists, she said.

“It just made sense to put everything together on Saturday for a one-day event,” she said, adding that it would enable the center to hold one large celebration Saturday night for everyone.

“We’ll have sort of a really busy start line for a few hours, and everybody will finish in the park whether you’re a rider or a (runner or a walker),” she said.

Cyclists begin the 100-mile ride in the 2022 Dempsey Challenge. Registration for this year’s event on Sept. 23 has opened. The challenge will be compressed to a single day instead of three. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

The Dempsey Challenge will also add a duathlon for those “overachievers” who have participated in both the run and ride in past years. Duathlon participants will follow the 25-mile ride course, first running 4.5 miles then biking the remaining 21 miles. It will be limited to 150 participants due to event logistics.

Patrick Dempsey, the center’s famous namesake, is planning to attend the Dempsey Challenges this year, Deletetsky said.


“It’s on his calendar, in his plans,” she said. “He always plans on attending.”

This year, organizers have set the fundraising goal at $1.8 million, the highest in the event’s 15 years. The new bar comes in response to increased needs, Deletetsky said.

“The number of people that are wanting to access services has grown tremendously,” she said. “We’re trying to keep up with that growth and just want to be able to offer services to as many people as possible across the state and beyond” through the Dempsey Connects program.

Registration for the 2023 Dempsey Challenge on Sept. 23 is now open. The event will again feature a 5-kilometer run/walk, riding events ranging from 10 to 65 miles, a survivor’s walk and a virtual challenge.

The Dempsey Challenge is the primary fundraiser for the Dempsey Center, a nonprofit organization based in Lewiston that provides no-cost services like fitness classes, massages and counseling to cancer patients and their families. One hundred percent of participant-raised funds go toward the supporting the nonprofit’s programs.

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