A new page: Real-life, virtual race miles aid Millinocket library

In a new chapter to keep the Millinocket Memorial Library open, a “Sponsor a Mile” campaign is aiming to raise as much as $500,000 for a major library renovation, when as many as 2,500 racers from around the world come next month to run 26.2 or 13.1 miles in the Millinocket Marathon & Half, to help the old mill city.

virtual races

First a one-room library when it opened on Nov. 11, 1919, the Millinocket Memorial Library is now in this building, dedicated on Dec. 11, 1963. But it’s in need of a major overhaul, and the “Sponsor a Mile” campaign is going to help reach the $1M “Future Library Project” goal. (Photo courtesy Millinocket Memorial Library)

“The ‘Sponsor a Mile’ fundraiser came about because we realized we have all the pieces in front of us to make something magic happen: 2,500 runners visiting our town to help give us a boost, a generous partner that would match our fundraising efforts, and an amazing story of perseverance, generosity, and community,” said Matt DeLaney, library director, in an e-mail.

And to mark the 98th anniversary of the library’s opening on Nov. 11, 1919, we’re announcing today that miles logged in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run can also be part of the effort to raise matching funds for the major building renovation.

For each dollar raised per mile in the real or virtual races, the Next Generation Foundation of Maine is matching, dollar for dollar, up to $250,000, to go 100% toward a $1M “Future Library Project,” which DeLaney calls a “state-of-the-art community center / digital learning lab / youth hangout / learning hub / imagination lab in Millinocket!” He added, “If we have 2,500 marathon runners and each of them finds just 4 people to donate $1 / mile for 26 miles, that will result in $260,000 towards the Future Library Project! When you add in the matching funds, that is over $500,000!”

The library was on the brink of closing forever in 2015, with the old mill city’s financial troubles. But a campaign to raise $30,000, including $10,000 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, helped keep the library doors open, as a starting step. And the last 2 years, runners in the Millinocket Marathon & Half have helped raise funds online for the library, with the campaign cumulatively raising more than $9,000 so far.

stephen king

Margie King, who goes by the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race name of @mak321, shelves a Stephen King novel as a volunteer at the Millinocket Memorial Library. There is a real-life connection between the novelist and the library, as the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation donated $10,000 to the Friends of Millinocket Memorial Library to help keep the doors open. (Photo courtesy Margie King)

“Next Generation is supporting us because we told them our story about losing almost all funding due to an economic crisis in the region, and then having the community rally together and reopen the library on an almost completely volunteer basis,” said DeLaney. “We have told our story to many partners and have experienced profound generosity from our community and from around the state.”

In announcing the up to $250,000 dollar-for-dollar matching grant under the headline, “Sponsor a mile to save the Millinocket Library,” the library suggests a $1 to $10 pledge per mile for the 13.1-mile or 26.2-mile real-life races. But DeLaney said that isn’t set in stone. If a virtual racer completes the 200-mile Cadillac to Katahdin route and finds a sponsor for 10 cents a mile for $20, for example, that can qualify for the Next Generation Foundation of Maine match as well, he said.

“There is no minimum or maximum. If they can find sponsors for 200 miles, that’s even better! The goal is to raise as much money as possible and leave no matching funds on the table,” DeLaney said. And if you want to sponsor virtual racers but don’t know their real names, that’s not a problem, either.

More than 130 participants have been logging miles from around the world on the virtual Cadillac to Katahdin route, to help raise funds for the nonprofit Friends of AcadiaOur Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library. Racers can sign up for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run through Dec. 9, the date of the real-life Millinocket races, and they can backdate their running, hiking or walking miles anywhere in the world, to Aug. 15. Participants or volunteers in the real-life MDI or Millinocket events get special pricing for the virtual race.

So far, the virtual racers have logged more than 25,000 cumulative miles. Today, we pledge at least 1 cent per mile for all miles logged on the virtual race route by Dec. 9, 11:59 p.m. EST, as part of our Millinocket Memorial Library donation. That means anyone who is already in the race will be helping to raise funds for the match, even if they’ve already finished the 200-mile route and are onto the second lap. And that means anyone new signing up will add to the pennies per mile commitment as well.

And if you’re a virtual racer who wants to pledge so much per mile that you’ve run or walked, or you want to sponsor a virtual racer whose real name you don’t know, you can do so by printing out this form. While the Millinocket Memorial Library has an online pledge form, it’s more designed for sponsorship of real-life Millinocket Marathon & Half Marathon racers, as the drop-down menu for number of miles is capped at 26.2 miles, even though, as DeLaney said, there is no minimum or maximum pledge per mile, or number of miles.

virtual races

The line of virtual racers stretching from Cadillac to Katahdin on Nov. 11, 2017, on the 98th anniversary of the Millinocket Memorial Library’s opening. You have until Dec. 9 to sign up, and can backdate miles to Aug. 15. (Image courtesy racery.com)

Virtual race a fun challenge, way to connect Acadia, Katahdin regions

virtual race

Announce your participation in the first-ever Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run by sharing this social-media friendly graphic. (Image by racery.com)

What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the world sign up to run, hike, walk or log other forms of miles, whether to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medallion or just set a fitness goal. Races can include technology-driven virtual routes that allow participants to see their progress, get a Google photo of their virtual location and check out the competition online, such as in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run. Or it can be as simple as allowing people to record their mileage via the honor system in order to get a medal in the mail. There are different themes for virtual races with medals, and even Disney runs them. Check out what a Cadillac to Katahdin virtual racer experience can be like in this short video by racery.com, which hosts the race on its online platform.

Co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind and organizers of the real-life MDI Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half, the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run is also the virtual edition of the first-ever Sea to Summit Series, where runners who participate in both the real-life MDI and Millinocket races can earn a special Sea to Summit finisher’s medallion.

Gary Allen, director of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, and Sea to Summit Series, 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 rings have spread so far and wide, especially with his starting the free Millinocket Marathon & Half in December 2015 to provide an economic boost to the old mill city, that Allen has been profiled in Runner’s World, Down East Magazine and elsewhere. He recently received Bangor television station WLBZ’s 2 Those Who Care Award, for the boost his races have given to communities like Millinocket.

New Cadillac to Katahdin page, gallery of virtual racers with medals

As part of the virtual race community, we’ve set up a new page for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, so you can learn more about the race route and sights along the way. It’s an online guide, featuring links to Google maps in 5-mile increments.

virtual races with medals

The Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion goes to all who sign up for the virtual race to help benefit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library.

The page can serve as a place for businesses and organizations anywhere near the route to post comments about what they do, a central location to read blog posts about this virtual race, and otherwise be a community for people who have a connection to or interest in the Cadillac or Katahdin regions. There is also a Facebook group page with the same purpose.

Below are photos of some of the more than 130 participants so far in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run.

Maybe you like one of the photos or stories shared here and want to sponsor some or all of that virtual racer’s miles for the Millinocket Memorial Library match, or just make a straight dollar donation no matter how many miles logged. You can do so by printing out this pledge form and use the virtual racer’s name (indicated by the “@” symbol), if you don’t know the person yourself.

Or maybe you want to check out some of the other virtual racers to sponsor. Here’s the list.

virtual races

Maxwell the Millinocket Marathon Moose (Image courtesy Millinocket Memorial Library)

Or maybe you want to sign up for the race yourself to earn the cool medal, and have your mileage count toward our per mile contribution on behalf of all virtual racers, even if you don’t get a sponsor yourself for the library match. You have until Dec. 9 at 11:59 p.m. EST to register and log your miles, backdated as far back as Aug. 15.

Even if you don’t complete the 200-mile route in time, you will still earn the medal, and see at least 5% of the gross registration fees go to benefit the library, Our Katahdin and Friends of Acadia. Special pricing for participants and volunteers in the real-life MDI and Millinocket races.

We’ll add more photos to the gallery as we get them, so check back if you’re looking for a virtual racer to sponsor.

And if you don’t have a real-life Millinocket racer or a virtual Cadillac to Katahdin racer to sponsor, there’s always…Maxwell the Millinocket Marathon Moose!

Maxwell will be hitching a ride on a real-life Millinocket marathoner’s shoulders for 26.2 miles on Dec. 9. Now that’s a uniquely Maine way to help the Millinocket library!


Tammy Champagne, a.k.a. @Trvlngrl, of Freeport

virtual races

Photo courtesy Tammy Champagne

“I am passionate about nature and being active outdoors while enjoying all that Maine has to offer. I have hiked in Acadia once and I have hiked the Hunt trail on Katahdin twice and The Knife’s Edge once. It’s very important to me that these places remain as they are so that future generations can enjoy the beauty and all that Maine has to offer.

“I did a combination of running, walking and hiking and used it as a motivator to push myself and do more miles than I normally would every week. I ended up finishing it much quicker than I had originally anticipated. I am a Registered Nurse at a long-term care facility in Falmouth where I have worked for over 15 years.

“Thank you so much!”



Gregory Emerson, a.k.a. @gemerson67, of Topsham

virtual races

Photo courtesy Gregory Emerson

“Really enjoyed taking part in the virtual race! Thanks a bunch.”

During his virtual journey, he also bumped into a long-lost college friend, as we wrote:

“As Gregory Emerson of Topsham strolled through a local ArtWalk this summer, logging miles for a virtual race to benefit Acadia and Katahdin area charities, he struck up a conversation with an artisan whose wood carvings of freshwater fish he particularly admired.

“I quickly realized it was a college buddy, Ray Chase, from Rumford, Maine,” said Emerson in an e-mail, in recalling the surprise real-life connection he made as he participated in the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race with medals that’s going on until Dec. 9. “Ray and I hadn’t seen each other for at least 20 years.” ”



Linda Rogers, a.k.a. @OnYourLeft2, of Bangor

virtual races

Photo courtesy Linda Rogers

“My OnYourLeft2 is NOT [because] I’ll be saying it. It’s what everyone racing says TO ME! Lol

“I took up running a few years ago when I decided walking is boring and too slow. Love being in races, even [though] I’m slow, [because] of the wonderful [people] involved. Crow Athletics especially welcomed me and I’ve met so many wonderful [people] in this Acadia group. Which brings me to how I found out about this virtual race. As a participant in the MDI Half Marathon I saw emails about this Sea to Summit Virtual Race happening and got in on that!  I’m doing the Millinocket Half in Dec. also.”

She is also wearing the race jersey from this year’s Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half & Relay in the photo.



Nicole Sawyer, a.k.a. @Nikkibunns, of Parsonsfield

virtual races

Photo courtesy Nicole Sawyer

“I am a medical assistant. I don’t have any family connection in the Millinocket and Acadia region but it is just such a joy to go to these areas and see the beauty of creation!”









Scott Giffin, a.k.a. @scottgif, of Leadville, CO

virtual races

Photo courtesy Scott Giffin

“Thank you for the medals! They are impressive! And thank you for putting this all together. I have enjoyed participating and following everyone else’s progress (and meeting them virtually). Great event!

“Thanks again!!”

An adaptive ski instructor at Vail, and science and nature writer, Giffin is currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins.
“This summer, I visited Acadia for the first time during a Johns Hopkins science in the field class. Love the area.
“I ran most of my miles in and around Leadville, a small town at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. I also logged miles on two fourteen-thousand-foot mountains (Crestone Peak and San Luis Peak).
“I learned about the virtual race on the Acadia On My Mind website. I was researching topics for stories.
“Thanks again for your efforts on this race!”








virtual races

Photo courtesy @BigRed68

“Here’s my (BigRed68) medal in its final resting place.  8 years of running and time to make a new medal rack. The Cadillac to Katahdin medal finished it off.  The Millinocket Half medal will have to start off the new one.”


virtual races

Photo courtesy @Prill207

“Exciting trip to the mail box today! One more medal coming for Sea to Summit at Millinocket and I’ll have the hat trick.

“Thank you for the great cause to run for.”








Maureen Fournier, a.k.a. @RangerMo, and Jim Linnane, a.k.a. @mdijim, of MDI

virtual races

@RangerMo, left, and @mdijim, a.k.a. Jim Linnane, summit Bernard in Acadia together and hold the medal gingerly between them. But Maureen Fournier, an Acadia National Park seasonal ranger, doesn’t yet wear the medal, as she was about 1 mile short of the 200-mile mark…

virtual races

…and gets back out on the trail the next day to make it official, atop Acadia Mountain. @mdijim has also since completed the 200-mile virtual race, and we’ve asked Jim, a Friends of Acadia volunteer crew leader, to send along a photo of him wearing his medal somewhere in Acadia, and will add that to the gallery of finishers. (Photos courtesy Maureen Fournier)















Holly Todd, a.k.a. @Honeybee

virtual races

Photo courtesy Holly Todd


Robin Emery, a.k.a. @Fossil

virtual races with medals

Robin Emery, a Maine Running Hall of Famer who goes by @Fossil in the virtual race, proudly displays her Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion, which she won as 1st place finisher in her age group. The medal ceremony occurred on Jesup Path, in front of her second-favorite view in Acadia, of Dorr.




Melissa Relyea Ossanna, a.k.a. @RosaPup, and Leah Frost

mdi marathon

Leah Frost, right, won the MDI Marathon (women’s) and last year’s Millinocket Marathon (women’s) and received an honorary Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion at the post-MDI race party at Side Street Cafe last month. On the left is Melissa Relyea Ossanna, a.k.a. @RosaPup, who just completed a real-life 100-mile race in Arizona over 2 days, and is nearing the completion of the virtual race atop Katahdin.

Rebeccah Geib, a.k.a. @DreadedRunner, of Bar Harbor

mdi marathon

Rebeccah Geib, a.k.a. @DreadedRunner, proudly displays her Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion, as she stands by the Acadia Inn sign that welcomes real-life runners to MDI. She won the virtual race in record time, and also won the real-life Caribou Marathon (women’s) and came in 1st in the MDI Marathon in the age 20 to 29 division (women’s).

Alisha Chaney, a.k.a. @Alisha, of Scarborough

virtual races

Photo courtesy Alisha Chaney

The Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion is in good company!

Alisha’s in training for the Millinocket Marathon and “wicked excited.”

Plus she’s been bagging some of the 4000-footers in the White Mountains as part of her virtual journey.







Jen Kelley, a.k.a. @Sprinkles

virtual race

Photo courtesy Jen “Sprinkles” Kelley

“I was so surprised to get the medal so quickly! I had just come in from a run, so it felt like a good opportunity to pose for a photo with the medal right after doing a 4-miler :)”

On her virtual race bio, she calls herself:

“A backpacker with an ultrarunning problem.”

She blogs at: http://sprinkleshikes.com






Run, walk a virtual mile anywhere in the world, and help the library

Won’t you join us on this Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, no matter where in the world you are, and help support the Millinocket Memorial Library and the other charities?

Do it for all the times you’ve visited a new city, and known that you could stop by the local library to check e-mail, print something out, or learn more about the region.

Do it because you support the idea of the Millinocket library being there to serve everyone, whether Appalachian Trail thru hikers, job seekers, artists, children and young families, senior citizens or small business owners.

“Our goal is to empower people with the services and tools they need to achieve success in their lives, however they define that,” said DeLaney.

It’s easy to join the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run

  1. Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
  2. The race starts on Aug. 15 and ends Dec. 9
  3. You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to Aug. 15
  4. Log your miles on the race page
  5. Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week

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