Real-life, virtual runners – and toy moose – aid Maine library

Chalk it up to Maine humor, or truth being stranger than fiction: When as many as 2,000 real-life racers come to town next month, and thousands of miles get logged in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, to help raise money for the Millinocket library, a star fundraiser will be a stuffed toy moose.

virtual runners

Maxwell the Millinocket Marathon Moose is hitching a ride on a human marathoner, to raise funds for the local library. (Photo courtesy Millinocket Memorial Library)

Maxwell the Millinocket Marathon Moose, who will be hitching a ride on a human marathoner on Dec. 9, has already raised more than $300 in pledges, according to the Millinocket Memorial Library, which is trying to get up to $250,000 in matching funds from the Next Generation Foundation of Maine, for a major library renovation, with a “Sponsor a mile” campaign.

On the brink of closing its doors forever in 2015, with the old mill city’s financial woes, the library got a new lease on life when the community rallied to raise $30,000 – including $10,000 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation – and volunteered to keep the doors open. The current fundraising effort is just the latest chapter in the struggling institution’s revival.

Racers – real, virtual or stuffed – who raise $500 or more during the “Sponsor a mile to save Millinocket Library” campaign will get their name on a plaque at the library.

If “Maxwell Moose” is in the running for a real-life plaque for helping the library, as well as participants in the Millinocket Marathon & Half who raise at least $500, we thought, why not “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner”?

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 100% to help reach the $1M “Future Library Project” goal. (Photo courtesy of Millinocket Memorial Library)

With this blog post, we’re announcing the extension of the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run to Jan. 1, 2018, to allow more participants to sign up and existing racers to log more miles, so that the collective “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner” can help raise more funds for charity. The race was originally slated to end on Dec. 9, the same day as the running of the Millinocket Marathon & Half, but racery.com, the host of the virtual race, approached us with the Jan. 1 extension so that it could promote the race to others interested in joining a challenge before the end of the year.

virtual runners

Print out this form to sponsor “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner” and help raise $500 to get a real-life plaque in the library acknowledging the contribution. (Image courtesy Millinocket Memorial Library)

Since Aug. 15, more than 130 participants in the virtual race have cumulatively logged more than 27,000 miles from Bar Harbor to Millinocket, from Florence, Italy, to Baltimore, MD, and elsewhere around the world. The virtual race route, from Cadillac to Katahdin, is 200 miles, and some runners are already onto their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th lap.

That means our pledge, made in our last blog post, of a penny per virtual mile, puts the amount raised so far at more than $270 – more than half way to a real-life plaque for “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner”!

You can help put “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner” over the top by signing up for the virtual race (register as late as Dec. 31 and backdate miles to Aug. 15); logging more miles if you’re already enrolled; or printing out and sending in the pictured pledge form with your contribution, specifying “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner” as the runner you’re sponsoring.

All miles count, by real-life and virtual runners, and Maxwell Moose

You can also print out a blank pledge form and fill in “Maxwell Moose,” who will be hitching a ride with real-life marathoner Hope Rowan, author of “Ten Days in Acadia: A Kids’ Hiking Guide to Mount Desert Island” [see sidebar about Amazon.com links]; or the name of a real-life runner in the Millinocket Marathon & Half from this list; or the name of a virtual runner from this list (you can indicate the virtual racer’s name by starting it with @, but you will want to add “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner” on the form, so that the pledge can count toward the $500 for the collective virtual runner’s plaque.)

virtual runners

More than 130 participants have collectively logged more than 27,000 miles in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run since Aug. 15. You can sign up as late as Dec. 31 and backdate miles to Aug. 15 to increase the per mile donation to help the Millinocket Memorial Library. You also earn the finisher’s medallion whether or not you’re able to complete the 200 miles by Jan. 1, 2018. (Image courtesy racery.com)

In announcing the up to $250,000 dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Next Generation Foundation of Maine, the library suggests a $1 to $10 pledge per mile for the 13.1-mile or 26.2-mile real-life races. But Matt DeLaney, director of the library, 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 match as well.

“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.

While the Millinocket Memorial Library has an online pledge form, it’s more designed for sponsorship of real-life Millinocket Marathon & Half Marathon racers – or “Maxwell Moose” –  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 runners inspire real sense of community, benefit charity

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. Aside from benefitting the Millinocket Library, the virtual race is also helping to raise funds for the nonprofit Friends of Acadia and Our Katahdin.

virtual race with medals

The Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion is made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that makes the medals for the Mount Desert Island and Boston marathons. Acadia Centennial Medallion available at special price. (Photo courtesy Ashworth Awards)

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 town, 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.

And if you’re looking to be inspired by photos of virtual racers wearing their Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion, and their stories about why they run, hike or walk, for themselves or for charity, below is a gallery of some of the recent finishers. Perhaps you’ll want to sponsor one of them as part of the collective “Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Runner,” for a real-life plaque at the Millinocket Memorial Library.

To learn more about the virtual race, check out this page we recently added.

Be inspired by Cadillac to Katahdin virtual runners who’ve finished

virtual runners

Jim Linnane, a.k.a. @mdijim, received his finisher’s medallion from fellow virtual runner Maureen Fournier, a.k.a. @RangerMo, during a ceremony atop Bernard Mountain in Acadia, with 2 other friends bearing witness. Linnane is a volunteer crew leader for the Friends of Acadia, and Fournier, a seasonal ranger for Acadia, and both have connections to the Katahdin region as well. Fournier finished her virtual race atop Acadia Mountain. (Photo courtesy Kip Warren)

virtual runners

Thomas Zotti, a.k.a. @TomZot, of Wolfeboro, NH,, proudly displays the Acadia Centennial and Cadillac to Katahdin Medallions, which he earned by completing the 200-mile virtual route. A member of Crow Ahletcs, he’s signed up for the real-life Millinocket race, but hasn’t visited Acadia yet. (Photo courtesy Thomas Zotti)

We’ll add more photos of Cadillac to Katahdin finishers as they become available. To see earlier finishers’ photos, check out the gallery at the bottom of this post.

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 library director 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 Jan. 1
  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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