Maine virtual run helps make new year resolutions, friends

Starting 2018 new year resolutions with a bang, nearly 200 runners, hikers and walkers with a connection to Maine have committed to log at least 1 mile for 100 days in a row, or virtually race 200 miles from Cadillac to Katahdin, wherever they are in the world.

virtual race with medals

Log 1 mile a day on foot for 100 days in a row and you, too, could join the ranks of the “streakers.” Members of Crow Athletics who are in the 2018 Streak-100 can add on the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run for a limited-edition medal with buffalo-plaid ribbon.

Whatever their reason – to train for a marathon; recover from cancer treatment; earn a limited-edition medal in the shape of Maine; raise funds for charity; or do something fun to get through winter – they’re united by some link to either the Acadia or Millinocket regions.

For example, the runners who’ve committed to log at least 1 mile for 100 days in a row – 2018 Streak-100 as the effort is called – belong to Crow Athletics Club, the Mount Desert Island-based group that sponsors the MDI Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half, as well as the Boston New Years Run (which follows the Boston Marathon route), the Robert Burns 10K in Westbrook, ME, on Jan. 28, and other races.

And participants in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run might have run MDI or Millinocket last year, fallen in love with Acadia National Park at first sight, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in Maine, or grown up in the old mill town that now serves as a gateway to both Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

To deepen the connections even more between people and place, real-life marathoners and virtual racers, fun competitions and charities, we’re announcing a virtual edition of Streak-100, co-sponsored with Crow Athletics. Streakers can add on the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run and log their daily entries on the virtual route, and earn a limited-edition Maine-shaped medal featuring a raised lobster claw and pine tree, and a special buffalo-plaid ribbon.

virtual races with medals

Whether you’re part of team #hipster or #lumberjack, this is the buffalo-plaid-beribboned version of the Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion you can earn, while helping to raise funds for Acadia and Katahdin-area charities, and keeping those new year resolutions.

In addition, we’re announcing the continuation of the virtual run beyond its original end date, to April 10, 2018, to make it easier for existing Cadillac to Katahdin virtual racers to keep new year resolutions, whether they log a mile a day for 100 consecutive days as the Streak-100 participants are aiming for, or have some other fitness goal in mind. The virtual race, which first began Aug. 15, includes nearly 150 participants from across the country – many of whom have become virtual friends and cheerleaders for each other.

The virtual race raised  $750 by the end of 2017 for the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library, and with the race’s continuation, even more funds can be raised in 2018. At least 5% of gross proceeds from race registrations and medallions go to support charity.

New for 2018, to make winter more bearable, and the virtual race more fun – and to play off the buffalo-plaid-ribbon theme first launched in October 2017 with the MDI Marathon & Half medals – we’re creating two Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run teams, effective Jan. 1:



Team #hipster or #lumberjack? Both look good clad in buffalo plaid

virtual races with medals

The buffalo-plaid theme began with the October 2017 Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half, marking the first half of the real-life Sea to Summit Series, ending with the Millinocket Marathon & Half in December 2017. (MDI Half medal courtesy of

Virtual racers can self-identify by editing their bio page and either typing #hipster or #lumberjack in the “Groups” field. We’ll tally up the Jan. 1 – April 10 miles logged by each team to determine the winner. Although individual racers can backdate daily miles to Aug. 15, only those miles logged between Jan. 1 and April 10 will count toward the team total.

We have it from the highest authorities – our nieces Michelle and Sharon, twentysomethings who live in Brooklyn – that buffalo plaid is what hipsters wear. And of course, as Mainers know, that’s what lumberjacks and lumberjills wear. (Pardon the lack of gender neutrality in naming the teams; it would have been too cumbersome to add lumberjill to the #lumberjack team name.)

Will the #hipster or #lumberjack team rule in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run in 2018? @AOMM as virtual race director has put herself down for both, either because she can’t decide, or has both hipster- and lumberjill-like attributes to her personality.

Special pricing of $30 for Crow Athletics members who are in the Streak-100, and are signing up in the virtual race for the first time.

For those who’ve already earned the original Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion with the 2017 green satin ribbon, and still logging their miles on the virtual race route: Special pricing of $15 (postage included) to add on the buffalo-plaid-beribboned medal as part of the race. Order by tagging @AOMM in the message board.

And for those who aren’t Crow Athletics “streakers” or aren’t already in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, but who want to get in on the fun, the registration fee of $35 includes buffalo-plaid-beribboned medal, a digital bib and finisher’s certificate, and a virtual cheerleading section to help you keep your 2018 new year resolutions.

Buffalo-plaid-beribboned medals will be sent out after 100 days, whether or not racers streaked, or upon completion of 200 miles on the virtual route between Jan. 1 and April 10. May this be extra motivation to keep your new year resolutions!

To join Streak-100, you need to be a member of the nonprofit Crow Athletics. But you can come up with your own version of a streak when you’re registered in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, to earn the medal with the buffalo-plaid ribbon. (Image courtesy of Crow Athletics)

Scottish poet Robert Burns’s words ring true for new year resolutions

Here are a couple more reasons plaid is a fitting theme for the virtual race ribbon, especially this time of year:

Robert Burns (Image in public domain in US, via Wikimedia)

  • Auld Lang Syne – that song that universally asks during New Year’s Eve celebrations, “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” – was first put down on paper by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, and sent to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788. What Americans think of as buffalo plaid is the “Rob Roy Macgregor” tartan, as described by The Scottish Register of Tartans.
  • Robert Burns 10K, the Crow Athletics race being run Jan. 28 in Westbrook, celebrates the heritage of race co-founders and “the most cherished and celebrated Poet from Scotland,” and raises funds for the Westbrook High School Alternative Learning Bike Shop, a program for kids at risk of dropping out. While the “Robert Burns Legacy” tartan differs from what Americans consider buffalo plaid, it is similar in basic design as defined by The Scottish Register of Tartans.
virtual runs with medals

The Robert Burns 10K, sponsored by Crow Athletics, proudly features plaid on its Web page, announcing the Jan. 28 race to help benefit the Westbrook High School Alternative Learning Bike Shop. You can count the 10K twice if you’re also registered for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run. Remember to wear your plaid, no matter the pattern. (Image courtesy of Crow Athletics)

Virtual races with medals a great way to keep new year resolutions

virtual race

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

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, 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 was also the virtual edition of the first-ever Sea to Summit Series, in addition to being the virtual edition of the 2018 Streak-100. To learn more about the virtual race, check out this page we recently added.

Gary Allen, director of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, Sea to Summit Series and Crow Athletics, 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.

For auld lang syne, may old friends, real or virtual, never be forgot

In the spirit of Auld Lang Syne, let us remember the acquaintances we’ve met through real-life and virtual races in 2017, and look forward to those we’ll encounter in 2018.

Here are some photos and stories from participants in the 2017 edition of the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, and who may have also participated in the 2017 MDI and Millinocket races:

virtual races with medals

Valerie Silensky-Lowe, a.k.a. @Mamaof7Dogs, seen here with Bella, sports Christmas plaid during the Ugly Sweater Run. That race, along with the Millinocket race, counted toward her Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run last year. Her husband Chris Lowe of Quality Hill Coffee made a special Millinocket Blend medium roast, available for purchase through Moose Drop In. (Photo courtesy of Valerie Silensky-Lowe)

virtual races with medals

Sean Douglas of Turner, ME, a.k.a. @sndgls, shows off his 2017 Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion, strung on a green satin ribbon. He now has the chance to add on the buffalo-plaid-beribboned version in 2018. Would he be part of team #hipster, or #lumberjack?  “I had fond memories of Medway and Millinocket as a child since one of my uncles had a sporting goods store in Millinocket in the 70s and 80s and made yearly treks to the area. The virtual race was a nice way to continue supporting Millinocket and, since I was already doing the Sea to Summit challenge, completing my running trifecta,” Douglas emailed. (Photo courtesy of Sean Douglas)

virtual race with medals

Kris Deveau, a.k.a. @KDDID, shared these mementoes from both real and virtual races in 2017. “Sea to Summit – what a wonderful journey! New friends, old friends, amazing scenery, short runs and long runs, great company for every mealtime, awesome virtual community (thanks to @AOMM!) and memories and medals to cherish,” Deveau wrote in sharing the photo on social media. She now has the chance to add on the buffalo-plaid-beribboned version of the Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion. Would she be part of team #hipster or #lumberjack? (Photo courtesy of Kris Deveau)

  • Jennifer Popper, a.k.a. @jennsjourney – Logging many of her Cadillac to Katahdin virtual
    virtual races with medals

    Jennifer Popper includes this photo of her and her husband Michael in a video on her Facebook page to raise funds for charity in his memory. Her goal: $15,000, to benefit charities that support green space and the benefits of walking. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Popper)

    miles in her home state of New Jersey, she’s in training for a 450-mile walk along the East Coast Greenway, from Cranford, NJ, to Gouldsboro, ME, to raise funds for charity in memory of her husband, Michael. He died in a kayaking accident in 2016, off Corea, when a surprise storm overturned her, her husband’s and their guide’s kayaks in Gouldsboro Bay. Only she survived. Popper first heard of the virtual race from Chris Popper of WDEA, and is glad she joined it. “I just wanted to take a moment to say how wonderful it is how supportive people are in the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race. It’s amazing how many ‘likes’ people give, providing encouragement to keep going. I wanted to do this for a number of reasons; first, I saw you tried to recruit Chris Popper, who is my husband’s cousin. Second, while I live in NJ, someone once said to me that my soul is in Maine. You see, my husband and I had been going to Maine for 10+ years,” she wrote. Since her husband’s death, “I have been back to Maine a few times, and continue to marvel at the kindness of strangers and acquaintances there.” As she starts her walk along the greenway in June, to benefit two nonprofits, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and FreeWalkers, we’ll be sure to write about it.

  • Betsy Giacomazzi, a.k.a. @bgizzi – In her virtual race bio, she wrote, “Devoted Oregonian
    virtual races with medals

    Going by @bgizzi, Betsy Giacomazzi proudly wears her 2017 Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion with green satin ribbon. She now has the chance to add on the 2018 buffalo-plaid-beribboned version of the medal. Would she be part of team #hipster or #lumberjack? (Photo courtesy of Betsy Giacomazzi)

    whose happy place is Maine. It is clear across the country but I look forward to a visit as often as possible.” And in a 2-page letter she shared, after sending along a photo of her proudly wearing the Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion with the 2017 green satin ribbon, and of her dog Sophie who walked many of the virtual miles with her, she wrote about how her love affair with Acadia developed. “I think it is the combination of mountains, ocean, great hiking and kind people, all in one magical island. I have returned nine times in the last thirteen years,” Giacomazzi wrote. “Each trip to Acadia I have trails that I hike as tradition each time: the Bubbles to Eagle Lake, Gorham Mountain, up and over Cadillac, north to south. My favorite hike has been Sargent Mountain via the Hadlock Brook Trail. And my most memorable hike was climbing the Beehive, and losing the blaze on the trail. I sat on a ledge for half an hour hoping someone else would come along. I finally happened to look up over my shoulder, and saw the next blaze.” She also describes in her letter a meet-up with another virtual racer, @RangerMo, a.k.a. Maureen Fournier, who greets visitors at Acadia’s village green visitor information center. “I am sure she does not remember me from the thousands of persons she has assisted, but I remember her! Given she and I are somewhat the same age, I thought she would direct me to an ‘age appropriate’ hike. Well that hike was Jordan Cliffs Trail. About the time I had to do the wall of iron rungs, I was questioning her recommendation. But I did it, and frankly, would like to have another crack at it.”

Thank you, @bgizzi, and all the virtual and real-life racers we’ve met along the way in 2017. Perhaps these words from @bgizzi sum it up best: “I have been inspired by other trekkers; the runners who put in many miles a day; our race-walker [@Coastwalker] who is out in the pre-dawn every day; by @Grin [a.k.a. Julie Grindle] who is recovering from chemo treatment and is getting out for walks and showing it who is boss; and by all the other trekkers who shared their miles and showed what can be done personally and financially as a group. We have become virtual friends who root each other on, share hilarious outings, and moments of non-motivation. I have enjoyed checking out the day’s activities of the virtual trekkers, and receiving emails rooting me on.”

virtual races with medals

Congratulations to @HikeEatNap (Image courtesy of

We would also like to acknowledge these virtual racers: @HikeEatNap, who has also been recovering from cancer treatment and completed the 200-mile virtual route atop Katahdin on Dec. 31; @DreadedRunner, whose team we want to be on, whether she’s #hipster or #lumberjack, since she’s logged the most miles since August 15, more than 1,000; @Bradcrazy, who’s coming up fast on @DreadedRunner and is in training for the Boston Marathon; @Keefa, chief cheerleader; @Hikingteacher, from whom we’ve learned a lot; and too many others to name.

And in the spirit of remembering old acquaintances, and keeping new year resolutions, here are the full lyrics of the English translation of Auld Lang Syne, from Wikipedia, shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license:

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


2 thoughts on “Maine virtual run helps make new year resolutions, friends

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