Maine virtual race helps make friends, new year resolutions

Starting 2019 with a bang, nearly 100 walkers and runners from Bar Harbor to Millinocket, Florida to Oregon, are virtually logging miles from Cadillac to Katahdin, and even going by Stephen King sites along the way – to do good, stay fit, and keep up with old friends and make new ones.

maine virtual race

The 5-star version of the 2019 edition of the Acadia to Katahdin Medal, if you log at least 1 mile a day for 100 days in a row. Only did 20 days in a row? That’s OK, you get one small star for each 20-day streak, and the large sequined star for the fifth consecutive 20-day streak. Took the first few days of 2019 off? That’s OK, too, since we can extend the virtual race, so you can still get in 100 days if you start this weekend.

And if over the first 100 days of the new year, participants in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race get a streak going, they earn the right to a custom medal, featuring a star for each 20-day streak, plus a large sequined star for logging at least 1 mile daily all 100 days, for a maximum 5 stars. Register for the Maine virtual race now.

Launched last year with Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half as the virtual edition of the Sea to Summit Series, the virtual race has so far raised $375 for charity, on top of the $800 raised in an earlier edition of the race.

But perhaps as meaningful as benefiting charity, the virtual race has led one participant to lose 21 pounds (@LRM); helped a couple of racers keep a more than year-long streak going (@Shellperry and @KDW); allowed fans of the Acadia and Katahdin regions to see photos of the places they love in the race course’s Google Street Views; and let family and friends stay in touch, no matter where in the world they log their miles.

In 2018, we learned who among the virtual racers are Stephen King fans, thanks to @Ghost, who challenged other racers to dedicate a 10+ mile entry to an SK story. We met virtual racers, some for the first time, on the day of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races and throughout the year, logging some miles together on a small remote island or sharing a cup of good cheer at the Sawmill Restaurant in Millinocket.

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The Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race has been extended through at least April 10, 2019, the 100th day of the new year, to help you meet new year resolutions. Sign up now. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

And we had fun with a Team #lobster vs. Team #moose challenge, along with custom #lobstrosity and #MonsterMoose medals for those who logged 10 or more miles in one day; playing mini-golf at a Millinocket Memorial Library fundraiser that featured Stephen King books lining the “fairway”; and giving away gift certificates from SK-Tours, Moose Drop In, Gift MDI and L.L. Bean. (See sidebar for coupon code for 10% off Gift MDI, one of our affiliated partners)

For 2019, may the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race help you keep your new year resolutions, whether it’s to train for a marathon or a trip to hike Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park, lose weight, get fit, or stay in touch with family and friends, no matter where in the world they are. Even if you don’t make a 20-day streak for a star, and even if you haven’t completed the 337.8-mile virtual race course, everyone is a winner, as medals will ship after April 10.

The continuation into the first 100 days of the new year makes this the virtual edition of 2019 Streak-100, co-sponsored with Crow Athletics, with special pricing for Crow members signing up for the first time, as well as for those who participated in the real-life MDI or Millinocket races.  Sign up here.

maine virtual race

Members of Crow Athletics can join Streak-100 and add on at a special price the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, featuring a 2019 medal with up to 5 stars for each 20-day streak of walking or running at least 1 mile a day. (Image courtesy of crowathletics.com)

Maine virtual race helps raise funds for charity, makes winter go by

For those who are already in the race, the custom 2019 medal with up to 5 stars for 20- to 100-day streaks can be ordered by tagging @AOMM in the virtual race message board. Participants have the option of a plaid ribbon, or a lobster or moose instead of the large sequined star for doing 100 days in a row, if they already have the 2018 Acadia to Katahdin finisher’s medallion.

maine virtual race

If you’d rather have a moose or a lobster instead of a large sequined star for doing 100 days in a row, it’s possible to custom design one based on this Team #moose and #lobster medal. Just tag @AOMM in the virtual race message board to place your order.

At least 5% of gross proceeds will go to benefit Millinocket Memorial Library, Our Katahdin and Friends of Acadia. The Maine virtual race is powered by racery.com, and displays Google Street View photos when available, of where you virtually are based on your day’s ending mileage.

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, and was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame last year.

Just as the real-life MDI Marathon & Half have extended the Acadia area’s season beyond Columbus Day, and the Millinocket Marathon & Half have brought a boost just before the holidays, we hope this virtual race can be like another one of Allen’s pebbles tossed in still water, to help bring more funds and recognition to these two very special parts of Maine.

virtual race with medals

The 26 peaks of Acadia are embedded in the virtual map for the 337.8-mile Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. If you land on one of the peaks, you may very well get a Google photo of the view. Virtual race runs through at least April 10, 2019, and you can backdate miles to July 20, 2018. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

There’s more than one Stephen King story behind this virtual race

Knowing that the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation had donated $10,000 to the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library to help keep library doors from closing forever in 2015, we thought it would be fun to embed a few Google Street View sites in the virtual race map with a connection to the King of Horror – such as the Deer Brook Trail in Acadia, where a scene from the movie “Pet Sematary” was filmed, and his home in Bangor.

Little did we know that that would bring out of the virtual woodwork die-hard fans of the novelist, led by @Ghost, Tim Henderson of Castine, an Acadia volunteer, who first issued the challenge of dedicating a 10+ miler to a Stephen King story, and uncovered some other fans among the racers:

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Virtual racer @BigRed68 (Alan Marks of Orono) has taught a course on Stephen King at the University of Maine. This is his personal King library. (Photo courtesy of Alan Marks)

  • @BigRed68, Alan Marks of Orono, who has taught a course on King at the University of Maine. “The first ‘grown-up’ novel I ever read was “The Dead Zone.” After that, I snapped up whatever King wrote,” said Marks, who’s read almost all of the author’s more than 50 novels and 200 short stories, and has a personal King library that takes up a small part of a room in his book-filled house. “I think that students are often surprised to find out just how much depth there is to King’s writing,” said Marks, who has included in the reading list such stories as “The Body,” “Hearts in Atlantis” and “Misery.”
  • @BenTreat, director of the Bangor Public Library, which has benefited from major donations from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, including a $3 million matching grant for a major library renovation, completed about two years ago. “Stephen and Tabitha King are tremendous supporters of libraries across Maine,through their foundation,” said Treat, who is in the virtual
    stephen king

    For their contributions to the Bangor Public Library, Stephen and Tabitha King have a hall named after them. (Photo courtesy of Ben Treat)

    race with his wife Ann-Marie Miller (@AMM). “Both small and large library renovations and improvements across the state have received principal funding from the Kings.”

  • @JohnT, John Torrone of Westfield, MA, an attorney for the state of Massachusetts who’s been a huge Stephen King fan since he was 12. “I have read most of his books more than once. My favorite book and movie of his is “The Shining.”
  • @ZombieChop, a.k.a. Meghan Brunelli of St. Petersburg, FL, who has toured Stephen King sites and even shared a photo of the sign outside his rock radio station, WKIT, 100.3 FM, in Bangor, on the virtual race’s Facebook page.

It seemed no matter where we logged miles with virtual racers in 2018, Stephen King was everywhere.

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One of the special Stephen King sites embedded in the virtual race map, which @JohnT landed on. (Photo courtesy of Google and racery.com)

Last September on a trip to Baker Island, a remote part of Acadia, with @Ghost, @FL2ME (Barbara Hopp Linton of Melbourne, FL), @Fossil (Robin Emery of Lamoine) and Jack Russell, who served as co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, the topic of Stephen King came up.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have surprised us, but @Fossil mentioned a King short story (“The Reach,” in the collection known as “The Skeleton Crew”) that reminded her of Hannah Gilley, who settled Baker Island in the early 1800s with her family.

And last month, after we completed a round of indoor mini-golf to help raise funds for the Millinocket Memorial Library’s major building campaign, we bought a couple of Stephen King books that were being used to line the “fairway” – “Under the Dome” and “Duma Key.”

stephen king

@ZombieChop, a.k.a. Meghan Brunelli, and Joel Bickford, of St. Petersburg, FL, in front of Stephen King’s radio station in Bangor, one of the stops provided by SK Tours of Maine. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Brunelli)

We met up with @mak321 (Margie King of Millinocket, a library volunteer) and @BigRed68 for the first time along the 5-hole “course” to present them with their virtual race medals.

“I am a big Stephen King fan, though I haven’t read many of his more recent books,” said Margie King (no relation to Stephen), in an email in advance of the mini-golf event. “If I had to pick a favorite, it would be ‘The Stand.’ From the horrible pandemic through the post-apocalyptic world battle of good vs. evil, it kept me thoroughly entertained and up way too late at night when I just HAD to know what was going to happen next.”

With @Ghost’s challenge of dedicating 10+ milers in the virtual race to Stephen King stories, “it adds another layer of interest to this already-cool virtual race,” said @mak321. “It’s a little scary to think of being in a virtual King book!! Lol!”

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Virtual racer @AOMM plays a round of mini-golf to help raise funds for the Millinocket Memorial Library, as library volunteer and virtual racer @mak321 looks on.

While @BigRed68 and his wife weren’t able to join us in a round of mini-golf, we told him we appreciated his sharing his insights into Stephen King during the Maine virtual race.

For example, when asked on the virtual race Facebook page whether there is a Stephen King story that includes mini-golf or golf, he had this to say: “The closest I can find is one called ‘Autopsy Room Four.’ In it a golfer is bitten by a rare snake that somehow got into his golf bag. It paralyzed him to the point where he was declared dead. He comes to on the autopsy table, still paralyzed, struggling to find a way to tell the doctors about to cut into him that he isn’t dead.”

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@BigRed68 gets his virtual race medal along the “links” of the mini-golf course, designed to help raise funds for the Millinocket Memorial Library building campaign.

About $50 was raised during mini-golf to go toward the library building, construction beginning this spring in time for the library’s 100th anniversary. The virtual race added another $125 to the building campaign in 2018 (made on behalf of “Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Racers”), on top of $500 from an earlier edition of the race. The virtual race’s contributions should qualify for a wall plaque that says “Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Racers” in the renovated library. The library is about 80% to its $1.25 million capital campaign goal.

Now, to close this chapter with a couple of Stephen King quotes that clearly show he’s a fan of libraries, whether in Millinocket, Bangor, or anywhere else in the great state of Maine:

“When all else fails, give up and go to the library.” – 11/22/63

“If I have to spend time in purgatory before going to one place or the other, I guess I’ll be all right as long as there’s a lending library.” – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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

As 2019 begins, let us remember some scenes from last year, experienced during the Maine virtual race and the real-life MDI and Millinocket races.

And let us plan on keeping up with old friends, and making new ones, as we make new year resolutions and log miles on the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, no matter where in the world we may be.

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@Christa of Ellsworth proudly wears her virtual medals, which go well with her Black Watch. She logged miles in several states and countries during the virtual race. (Photo courtesy of Christa Brey)

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Virtual racer @JakeD of Manchester, NH, has a unique moose rack for hanging his virtual medal, along with his Mount Desert Island Half medal. He is also a big Stephen King fan. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Distel)

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During a virtual race medal ceremony on Baker Island, @Ghost (Tim Henderson of Castine), left, gets a congratulatory handshake from @Fossil (Robin Emery of Lamoine, a member of the Maine Running Hall of Fame). @Ghost doesn’t take his name from a Stephen King story, but from being such a fast hiker that his buddies say he disappears down the trail like a ghost. We witnessed his speed as @Ghost may have been the first person ever to run completely around Baker Island, logging the miles as part of the Maine virtual race, which he was the first to finish.

acadia centennial

We named Jack Russell an honorary virtual racer on Baker Island, and presented him with one of the few remaining Acadia Centennial Medallions, from a previous edition of the virtual race. A co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, Russell last year completed his tenure as a long-time board member of the Friends of Acadia, one of the charities benefiting from the virtual race. We didn’t think to come up with a virtual race name for him – next time!

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@JohnT, a.k.a. John Torrone of Westfield, MA, with his son Jack, on Jack’s first “ice cream run” last summer, as part of the Maine virtual race. A member of Crow Athletics, @JohnT ran about 20 miles with Gary Allen during his 2013 Cadillac to Washington, DC, fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. “That guy inspires me to push the limits.” (Photo courtesy of John Torrone)

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Tricia Cyr of Moose Drop In in Millinocket, left, honorary coach of Team #moose, shows off her medal with #MonsterMoose elite club member @KDW, a..a. Kathleen Dixon-Wallace of Milo. Above the doorway in the back is a green handwritten sign, “Millinocket Marathon and Half Office.”

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Honorary #lobster coach Gary Allen sports a custom medal, featuring two lobsters on the classic Acadia to Katahdin finisher’s medallion. (Photo courtesy of Tricia Cyr)

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@Mamaof7Dogs, a.k.a. Valerie Silensky-Lowe of Washington, DC, left, displays her real-life Millinocket Marathon medal, and the custom #lobstrosity and #MonsterMoose virtual race medal, after the virtual race medal ceremony at the Katahdin Inn & Suites in Millinocket. To the right is @Mamaof7Dog’s friend Heidi, and virtual race co-director @AOMM.

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@JillMarie63, a.k.a. Jill Pelkey of East Millinocket, gets her #MonsterMoose virtual race medal from @AOMM at the Sawmill Restaurant in Millinocket. She and her husband shared a cup of good cheer with about half a dozen other virtual racers at the Sawmill on Dec. 8.

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@LibertyPenguin, a.k.a. Darryl W. Perry of Keene, NH, gets a congratulatory handshake upon receiving his virtual race medal at the Sawmill. He helped raise more than $600 for the Millinocket Historical Society as part of his participation in the real-life Millinocket race.

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@TomZot, a.k.a. Thomas Zotti of Wolfeboro, NH, sports his Acadia to Katahdin Race Medal along with his Millinocket Marathon & Half tie-dye shirt. He makes the winter go by fast, by coming up with duathlon events for the virtual race – any combo of 2 sports in 1 day.

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@KDDID, a.k.a. Kris Deveau of Lewiston, shares a laugh with @AOMM.

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@Lishie, a.k.a. Alisha Chaney of Scarborough, does a selfie with @AOMM. (Photo courtesy of Alisha Chaney)

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@Joelle, a.k.a. Joelle Ingalls of Surry, shows off her Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race medal. She was featured in Down East Magazine for being the last to finish the Millinocket Marathon in December 2017. That honor went to @Mamaof7Dogs in December 2018.

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Along the course of the Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half in October 2018, Dick Atlee plays the accordion for runners by the Acadia Mountain trailhead. He and his accompanist, Sarah Corson, have made music for MDI racers in 16 out of 17 years.

 

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The Moose Drop In sponsored this mile marker along the Millinocket Marathon & Half route for runners to pose with snow-capped Katahdin in the background, while a Millinocket photographer who goes by pbmike on Facebook took photos available for purchase.

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A scene from the real-life 2018 Millinocket Marathon & Half, which more than half a dozen participants in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race also ran. (Photo courtesy of Mark Picard Wildlife Photography in Millinocket)

It’s easy to join the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race

What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the USA or the world sign up to run, hike, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski 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 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. 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 virtual racer experience can be like in this short video by racery.com, which hosts our races on its online platform.

  1. Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
  2. The race ends on April 10, 2019
  3. You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to July 20, 2018
  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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