MILLINOCKET – All roads lead to the Magic City today for the running of the Millinocket Marathon & Half, in real life from all corners of Maine to Maryland and beyond, and virtually, from Florida to Oregon.
More than 2,000 runners from around the world have descended in real life to run in frigid temperatures for 13.1 or 26.2 miles, to give a much-needed boost to this old mill town that has fallen on hard economic times, just before Christmas.
And the spirits of Acadia, Stephen King and virtual racers from around the country have gathered here as well, like a benevolent dome, with the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race helping to raise funds for the Millinocket Memorial Library, Our Katahdin and the Friends of Acadia.
The real-life race, only in its fourth year, has become a magnet to Millinocket in the dead of almost-winter, the brainchild of Gary Allen, the Maine Running Hall of Fame director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half, who started the free race to help out a struggling town. He likens the impact of the races he’s launched as “a pebble tossed into still water,” with ever-widening rings of positive influence and inspiration.
The Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, which includes the real-life Millinocket and MDI courses, allows real-life Millinocket runners to make their miles count twice, with the virtual award ceremony happening at the Sawmill Bar and Grill today between 5:30 and 7 p.m today. You can register in the virtual race as late as today, backdate miles to July 20, and keep logging miles until Dec. 31: www.runmdi.org/virtual-edition
If you can’t make the Sawmill, see the other places where the virtual race medals can be picked up in Millinocket today, in the highlights below.
More photos and stories from the real-life and virtual races to come, along with an explanation of the Stephen King theme for the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Proud to co-sponsor the virtual race with the Millinocket and MDI races, to help benefit charity.
Time for this blogger (and virtual racer @AOMM) to get ready for the frozen 13.1 miles, and be warmed by the spirits of Millinocket.