Tag Archives: mdi-marathon

Real and virtual races with medals converge on MDI

The virtual met reality last week, as more than 1,300 racers from around the world came to run the real-life Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half & Relay, with some of them also logging miles in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run to help benefit charity.

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.

At the same time, the real and virtual races with medals deepened community ties between the Acadia and Katahdin regions, as visitors with Millinocket ties volunteered at the MDI races on Oct. 15, just as MDI residents will be volunteering at the Millinocket Marathon & Half on Dec. 9, and as charities from both regions will benefit from funds raised by the races, real and virtual.

And to cap it all off, real-life and virtual racers and volunteers who might never have met crossed paths last week, whether during the MDI races, at the post-race party at Side Street Café, on the trails of Acadia National Park, or along the byways of Bar Harbor.

“I feel like a celebrity,” said Rebeccah Geib, who won the virtual race and came in 1st in the female age 20-29 division of the MDI Marathon, 1st female MDI resident and 6th female overall, as she was presented with her Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion last week while at work at the Acadia Inn, the day after finishing the real-life MDI race.

Going by the virtual race name of @DreadedRunner, Geib has also been basking in the glow of meeting one of her real-life running heroes, Leah Frost, who won the MDI Marathon (women’s division) for the fourth time last week, and also received an honorary Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion at the post-race party at Side Street.

mdi marathon

Leah Frost, right, won the MDI Marathon (women’s) and received an honorary Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion at the post-MDI race party at Side Street Cafe. On the left is Melissa Relyea Ossanna, who came in as 2nd female MDI resident, and goes by the virtual race name of @RosaPup.

More than 130 participants have been logging miles from around the world on the virtual 200-mile Cadillac to Katahdin route, to help raise funds for the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library. Racers can sign up for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run until Dec. 9, 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.

What are virtual races with medals, 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.

virtual races with medals

The Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion goes to all who sign up for the virtual race to help benefit charity.

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 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.

virtual races with medals

More than 130 racers are participating in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run to help raise funds for charity. Sign up now. Race ends Dec. 9, you can backdate miles to Aug. 15. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

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Maine virtual race with medals connects long-lost friends

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.

virtual race with medals

Gregory Emerson, left, encountered a long-lost college buddy, Ray Chase, while logging miles for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Emerson)

“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.”

As Julie Grindle of Hancock undergoes cancer treatment, she’s been walking as part of her recovery, entering her miles online and getting encouragement from others in the Maine virtual race with medals, even though she’s never met most of the participants. “This virtual race has been a motivator and a bright spot thanks to you guys!!” she wrote online to those who’ve been cheering her on. “Thanks for all of the support virtual race friends!!”

In reply, Bryan O’Keefe of Billerica, Mass., wrote, “Keep doing what you are doing! You are doing an awesome job!”

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. Registrants for the virtual race also have the option of adding a collector’s edition of the Acadia Centennial Medallion. (Photo courtesy of Ashworth Awards)

United by some connection to Acadia or Millinocket, or the real-life Mount Desert Island and Millinocket Marathons and Half Marathons, more than 120 participants have been logging miles from around the world on a virtual 200-mile Cadillac to Katahdin route, to help raise funds for the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library.

Although many of them have never met, they’ve made connections online, watching each other’s race avatars make progress on the virtual map with each day’s mileage entry, from Cadillac to Katahdin, and including the real-life routes for the MDI and Millinocket races. They offer words of encouragement and advice, sharing their training regimens if they’re competitive runners, weather reports from wherever in the world they may be, trip updates to the Acadia or Katahdin regions, real-life race results, and photos of their travels.

As the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race with medals approaches its halfway point, and as the real-life MDI Marathon and Half is set to run on Oct. 15, the connections between virtual and real life are converging, and the links between racers and community are deepening.

Racers can sign up for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run until Dec. 9, and they can backdate their running, hiking or walking miles anywhere in the world, to Aug. 15. While the real-life MDI Half is at capacity, the MDI Marathon is still open for registration as of this writing, and volunteers are welcome too. Participants or volunteers in the real-life events get special pricing for the virtual race with medals.

virtual race with medals

Race avatars for more than 120 participants in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run stretch along the virtual 200-mile route, from Cadillac to Katahdin. Sign up now. Race goes until Dec. 9, and you can backdate mileage to Aug. 15. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

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Cadillac to Katahdin virtual national park race boosts charity

When Millinocket Memorial Library was on the brink of being closed forever in 2015, with the old mill city’s financial troubles, Margie King and others stepped up to raise $30,000 and volunteer to keep the doors open.

stephen king

Margie King, who goes by the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run name of @mak321, shelves a Stephen King novel. 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)

Now, King’s still stepping up – literally and virtually – to benefit her beloved community institution. In between volunteer shifts at the library, helping to shelve books and staff the front desk, she’s walking around Millinocket to log miles in the first-ever Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, to help raise funds for the library and 2 other nonprofits, Our Katahdin and Friends of Acadia.

“I became interested in the race when I heard about the charitable giving aspect and it sounded like fun to follow my progress on a map, from one beautiful place to another. The medal is pretty cool too,” said King, in an email.

More than 100 participants have signed up for the virtual national park race so far, including:

  • King’s daughter, Tracy King Daniell of Orono
  • Holly Todd, a beekeeper, massage therapist and Maine Guide in Millinocket
  • Rebeccah Geib, a long-distance runner from Bar Harbor and member of Crow Athletics, who was the first to finish the 200-mile virtual route, in 15 days
  • Maine Running Hall of Famer Robin Emery, who has a trophy named after her, awarded to the top female finisher in the Bangor Labor Day 5-mile race
  • Acadia National Park Ranger Maureen Fournier
  • Tim Henderson of Castine, one of the Acadia National Park volunteers known as Waldron’s Warrior, helping to maintain the Bates cairns
  • Jim Linnane of Bar Harbor, who’s been logging some of his miles for the race while volunteering on Acadia’s trails for the Friends of Acadia

We’ve also invited Chris Popper of WDEA AM 1370 to join, and hope to develop a Dream Team of celebrity virtual racers with Popper as the first to be drafted.

virtual race

The 3″ Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion features a raised lobster claw and raised pine tree. You don’t need to finish all 200 miles by Dec. 9 to earn your medal. (Image by Ashworth Awards)

What’s a virtual national park race, you ask? It lets 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, 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 Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half, the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run continues until Dec. 9, and participants can register at any time and backdate daily miles to Aug. 15, the start of the race. It 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 town, that Allen has been profiled in Runner’s World, Down East Magazine and elsewhere.

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 to what has been an economically challenged Katahdin region, 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.

And just as more real-life visitors to Acadia are heading inland as part of their vacation, with the addition of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last year, may our blogging about the new Cadillac to Katahdin virtual national park race spur people to learn more about both regions, whether they’ve ever set foot in Vacationland or not.

And may our blogging, and the virtual national park race, help deepen the connections between the Acadia and Katahdin regions, the people and the place.

cadillac to katahdin

The more than 100 participants so far in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run stretch along the 200-mile route. Join us! (Image courtesy Racery.com)

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Acadia, Millinocket fans join forces for virtual race 2017

Jessica Jourdain was only 4 when she moved away from Millinocket, but her heart and mind never left. Now, she’s lining up for the first-ever Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run that’s just begun, and running the real-life Millinocket Half Marathon in December, to help raise funds for her struggling hometown.

virtual race with medals

Jessica Jourdain and her husband Justin ran the Millinocket Half Marathon last December in subzero weather, and are hoping for warmer temps this year. Weather won’t be a concern during the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Jourdain)

Judy Lackey took early retirement from her job in health care IT in Connecticut earlier this year, but longs to move to Maine, where she’s been running road races to explore different towns, from Portland to Castine. Now, she’s signed up for the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race 2017, and the Millinocket Half Marathon, to learn more about the state both virtually and in real life.

Maureen Fournier sells park passes and provides visitor information as an Acadia National Park ranger, but on her days off she goes hiking, whether the trails of Acadia, Baxter State Park, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument or elsewhere. Now, she’s joining the Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race 2017, to both help raise funds for Acadia and Millinocket, and give her another reason to hike.

“I’m excited to do the race,” said Fournier, who goes by the virtual race trail name of @RangerMo and uses a hiking boot as her avatar on the virtual race route. “It’s all so healthy.”

@RangerMo, @JessicaJ (Jourdain, an office administrator in Sanford, ME) and @Judylackey are among the scores of participants from around the country that have lined up so far for the virtual race, an epic 200-mile journey that starts on the top of Cadillac, the highest point on the US Atlantic seaboard; includes the real-life routes of the Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half (being run Oct. 15 this year) and the Millinocket Marathon & Half (being run Dec. 9); and ends atop Katahdin, the highest point in Maine and northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

One racer from Morrill, ME – who goes by the virtual race name of @Robrn2000 and has a real-life goal of running 1 marathon a month, and a total of 1,500 miles in 2017 – was first out of the gate, logging 5.2 miles before 7 a.m. this morning.

What’s a virtual race, you ask? It lets 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 and check out the competition, such as in the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, or 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 national-park themed virtual races, and even Disney runs them. Check out what a Cadillac to Katahdin virtual racer experience can be like in this short video.

Co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind, Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half, the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run helps raise funds for the nonprofit Our Katahdin, Millinocket Memorial Library and Friends of Acadia. The Cadillac to Katahdin race 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.

Register now for the virtual race, and you have 117 days, from Aug. 15 to Dec. 9, to run or walk 200 miles, anywhere in the world. If you register late, you can backdate daily mileage to Aug. 15. And if you can’t complete the 200 miles by Dec. 9, you can log any additional miles needed on another virtual race that we’ve sponsored, the Acadia Centennial Trek.

virtual race with medals

The day had barely dawned, and @Robrn2000 was first out of the gate with a 5.2 miler. Register now to join the first-ever Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, and watch your race avatar move along the 200-mile route, from Cadillac to Katahdin. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

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New Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race aids Acadia, Millinocket

The connections between the Acadia and Katahdin regions run deep, through history, among residents and visitors – and now, with the first-ever virtual race that starts on Cadillac and ends on Katahdin, to help raise funds for the two areas.

virtual race

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

Runners and walkers anywhere in the world can join the 200-mile virtual race, and earn a special Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion to mark the achievement. The race runs from Aug. 15 through Dec. 9, and includes the routes of the real-life Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half & Relay that’s happening on Oct. 15, and the Millinocket Marathon & Half that’s on Dec. 9. Register now.

Co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind and organizers of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run will help benefit the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library. The Cadillac to Katahdin race 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 town, that Allen has been profiled in Runner’s World, Down East Magazine and elsewhere.

virtual race

The 3″ gold Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion features raised lobster claw and pine tree. (Image by Ashworth Awards)

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 to what has been an economically challenged Katahdin region, 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.

And just as more real-life visitors to Acadia are heading inland as part of their vacation, with the addition of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last year, may our blogging about the new Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Race spur people to learn more about both regions, whether they’ve ever set foot in Vacationland or not.

Register now for the virtual race, and you have 117 days, from Aug. 15 to Dec. 9, to run or walk 200 miles, anywhere in the world. If you register late, you can backdate daily mileage to Aug. 15. And if you can’t complete the 200 miles by Dec. 9, you can log any additional miles needed on another virtual race that we’ve sponsored, the Acadia Centennial Trek.

virtual race

Are you up to the challenge of the 200-mile Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run? The Bubble Rock image at the top of Cadillac, the highest point on the US Atlantic coast, represents Acadia on My Mind. The finish line is atop Katahdin, the highest point in Maine. (Image by racery.com)

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Acadia year in review, a look ahead: Top news, 2017 ideas

Without a doubt, the top news for Acadia National Park in 2016 was the Acadia Centennial, not only as celebration and time to reflect on past and future, but also as a big draw, helping to push visitation over 3.2 million, the highest since 1990.

Centennial logo for Acadia National Park

The official Acadia Centennial logo

This Acadia year in review rounds up some of the top Centennial-related news, as well as the top Acadia on My Mind blog posts and other achievements of 2016. We also describe some of our plans and Acadia-themed New Year’s resolutions for 2017, as we continue to blog about our favorite national park.

If you have a 2016 Acadia Centennial memory or 2017 Acadia-themed New Year’s resolution to share as part of our Acadia year in review, feel free to post it in a comment below. Continue reading

Global field of 400 covers 30,000 miles in Acadia virtual runs

To celebrate the Acadia Centennial, nearly 400 people from around the world have crisscrossed virtual routes on Mount Desert Island this year, collectively logging more than 30,000 miles of running, hiking or walking, and helping to raise funds for the park.

Among the most recent finishers of the Acadia virtual runs:

acadia virtual races

Ben Greeley of Waterville lets Pamola sport his Acadia Centennial Medallion, which he earned by running the virtual MDI Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Ben Greeley)

  • 10-year-old Lukas Modrusan of Bangor, who logged real-life cross-country practice and racing miles, and counted them toward the virtual edition of the Mount Desert Island Marathon
  • Ben Greeley of Waterville, who logged his training miles for the real-life MDI Marathon on the virtual marathon route, and shared a photo of his virtual finisher’s medal being worn by his faithful companion, Pamola
  • Pam Langford, who completed the virtual MDI Half Marathon while still a North Carolina resident, and looks forward to running and hiking the real-life trails and carriage roads of Acadia, now that she is moving to Bar Harbor next week
  • Robin Emery, who came in first in her age group (70-79) in the real-life MDI Half, in 2:35:18, and used those same miles to earn her virtual MDI Half finisher’s medal
  • Melissa Kim, children’s book author and editor at Islandport Press, who completed the virtual MDI Marathon at home in southern Maine, and did a lot of speed hiking in Acadia in advance as training.

The first-ever series of Acadia virtual runs began in February with the launch of the free 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, followed by parts 2 and 3 of the same trek. These races end on Dec. 31, and as of Nov. 12, there are only 50 days left to complete those 100-mile treks.

You can still join in on the virtual Acadia Centennial Trek, and if you average about 2 miles a day between now and Dec. 31, you can earn the right to the finisher’s medallion, available for optional purchase, to help raise funds for Acadia. The Trek is one of Acadia on My Mind’s contributions to the year-long celebration of the park, as an official Acadia Centennial Partner.

acadia centennial trek

Nearly 300 participants have signed up for the free 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek, hosted by Racery.com. You can still sign up now, and have about 50 days to complete the route before the race ends Dec. 31.

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And they’re off! Global field of racers start MDI virtual runs

The virtual starting pistol has just sounded for the first-ever virtual running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half. Racer BenJammin has pulled out in front, Dbawn is not too far behind, and a field of nearly 100 racers from around the world, from Australia to New Mexico, is in pursuit.

acadia national park virtual runs

Travis Greaves will be logging his miles for the virtual MDI Half Marathon in the Gold Coast in Australia. (Photo courtesy Travis Greaves)

It’s not too late to join in on the fun, or to invite your friends, family and frenemies anywhere in the world to participate in this special event to help raise funds for Acadia National Park. The 26.2 and 13.1-mile virtual runs just began today, and you can log your miles over a 10-day period, ending on Oct. 16, the day of the real-life MDI Marathon and Half. Register here.

Get a digital bib, earn a special Acadia Centennial Medallion and watch your avatar move along on the map of the real-life race routes as you log each day’s mileage. You may also see a Google Street View® of where you finish for the day. Special pricing for registrants and volunteers in the real-life MDI Marathon and Half. The virtual races are co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind, Crow Athletics and MDI Marathon as an official Acadia Centennial event.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, with even Disney getting into the act. Acadia on My Mind is also sponsoring a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek that ends on Dec. 31.

Participants get to cheer friends – real or virtual – or gently razz competitors via a message board on the race Web sites, powered by Racery.com, or via a special Facebook events page we’ve set up. Some have never run a real-life marathon or half, and some have never been to Acadia, while others have done both.

Travis Greaves, who hasn’t been to Acadia but has run real-life races, found out about the virtual runs in a Google search. “I will be running in the Gold Coast in Australia. I like the idea of virtual runs,” e-mailed Travis, whose virtual MDI Half Marathon screen name is Travisg.

Joining in on the fun are Eve Lindsey (SkiPrincess) of Bedford, NH, and Hope Matthews (Sourceress) of Portland, plus other racers hailing from places like Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Austin, TX; and Clovis, NM.

acadia national park virtual runs

BenJammin is out in front, with Dbawn not too far behind, at the start of the first-ever virtual running of the MDI Marathon. Not too late to register and join the nearly 100 racers in this and the virtual MDI Half Marathon, during the 10 days that the races are live, Oct. 7 – Oct. 16.

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On your marks! ‘Princesses,’ ‘witch’ join first MDI virtual runs

Racers with fun names like Incaprincess, SkiPrincess, TrailWitch and Sanity Clause – some hailing from as far away as Australia, Texas and New Mexico – are lining up at the start for the first-ever virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half, to help raise funds for Acadia.

Acadia virtual runs

Incaprincess (Suzanne Wiegand) and husband Duane, pictured here on trails near their Cuyahoga Falls, OH, home, are running the virtual MDI Marathon together. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Wiegand)

The virtual gun goes off on Oct. 7, and racers have 10 days to complete the virtual runs, with the final day coinciding with the real-life MDI Marathon and Half on Oct. 16. There’s still time to join in on the fun, with registration open until the end of the day on Oct. 3. Special pricing for registrants and volunteers in the real-life races.

Racers get a special Acadia Centennial Medallion, a digital race bib and the chance to see their avatar move on a map of the virtual 26.2 or 13.1-mile route with each day’s mileage entry, whether they run, hike or walk the miles, wherever they are in the world. They may also see a Google Street View® of where they finished for the day.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, with even Disney getting into the act. Acadia on My Mind is proud to be co-sponsor with Crow Athletics and the real-life MDI Marathon of this official Acadia Centennial event.

acadia national park hiking

You too can earn the right to this Acadia Centennial Medallion, and help raise funds for Acadia.

Participants get to cheer friends – real or virtual – or gently razz competitors via a message board on the race Web site, powered by Racery.com, or via a special Facebook events page we’ve set up. Some have never run a real-life marathon or half, and some have never been to Acadia, while others have done both.

Incaprincess (Suzanne Wiegand) and her husband Duane, of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, are running the virtual MDI Marathon together, and have been to Acadia many times.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be running the actual MDI Marathon this year, but definitely planning on it next year!” said Suzanne, who said in an e-mail that her nickname came from an anthropology class field trip. “The nickname kind of stuck around and it has now translated into my trail running nickname. But you can just call me Inca.”

acadia virtual runs

Registration for the first-ever virtual running of the MDI Marathon and Half ends on Oct. 3.

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Acadia fall foliage just one focus of rest of Centennial year

The days are shorter, the nights chillier, and Acadia fall foliage is getting ready to put on its spectacular color show. The season to visit Acadia National Park has been gradually getting longer, and this year, Centennial events promise to make the fall – and even winter – busier than ever.

With about 100 days left in the Centennial year, and Acadia fall foliage still to peak, among the major events and projects featuring the park still on the calendar:

treasured lands

QT Luong, whose large-format photographs of all of America’s national parks was featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series, has a new book coming out on Oct. 1 in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. The book includes a section on Acadia. Pre-orders placed by Oct. 1 eligible for special offers. (Image courtesy of QT Luong)

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Running in Acadia National Park a real and virtual delight

Scaling the Goat Trail and jumping off low rock ledges, Kristy Sharp discovered a new loop over the weekend for running in Acadia National Park, along Norumbega Mountain.

acadia centennial trek

Kristy Sharp flies off a low rock ledge on Norumbega Mountain, as she lives up to her virtual Acadia Centennial Trek trail name of @TrailWitch. (Photo courtesy of Kristy Sharp)

“Not one of my usual routes but it will likely go on my rotation. It was great!!” said Sharp, a certified personal trainer in Southwest Harbor, in an e-mail. She’s run the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon the last couple of years, and is participating in virtual runs, featuring portions of the MDI race routes, to celebrate Acadia’s Centennial this year.

Running in Acadia National Park attracts both area residents like Sharp, and visitors from around the world, with the dramatic scenery, the challenging trails and the miles of well-graded carriage roads. No wonder area races draw thousands of runners a year. This year’s MDI Marathon and Half Marathon is on Oct. 16, and the MDI YMCA Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Fall Half Marathon, on Sept. 17.

New this year: Virtual running in and around Acadia National Park, to bring the experience to anyone anywhere in the world, whether they’re logging miles on a treadmill or walking in their neighborhood, whether they are lifelong fans of Acadia or have never stepped foot in Maine. Virtual races are a growing fitness trend, with even Disney getting into the act, with some offering T-shirts, finisher’s medals or a chance to raise funds for charity.

acadia national park virtual runs

The first-ever virtual running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon routes is an official Acadia Centennial event. At least 5% of gross proceeds from virtual runs’ registration fees go to help support the park. Registration ends Oct. 3.

We’re co-sponsoring the first-ever MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition with Crow Athletics and MDI Marathon, powered by Racery.com, to help raise funds for the park, as an official Acadia Centennial event.

The virtual races, which go live from Oct. 7 through Oct. 16, allow participants to log their running or walking miles over those 10 days. They watch their progress on a virtual map of the real-life 26.2-mile and 13.1-mile race routes, and see Google Street Views® where available for the day’s ending mileage. Finishers get a special Acadia Centennial Medallion. Special pricing for registrants in the real-life races. Registration ends Oct. 3.

We’re also sponsoring a free year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, which certified personal trainer Sharp has completed not just once, but three times, under her Trek name of @TrailWitch.

“Running is good for my soul, so I try to make time to run every week,” said Sharp, who’s a personal trainer at the Harbor House Fitness Center in Southwest Harbor, and continues logging her miles on the Trek even though she is beyond the virtual finish line, three times over. While she won’t be running the real-life MDI Marathon or Half this year, she’ll be volunteering at the real-life finishing line for those races, which end right in front of the Harbor House.

Scenes from a year of virtual Acadia running, training and trekking

acadia national park running burning man mount desert island marathon tree mount desert island marathon somesville bridge perpendicular trail kurt diederich's climb somesville mount desert island marathon

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First-ever virtual runs of MDI Marathon to mark Acadia 100th

For the first time ever, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, runners and walkers anywhere in the world can join virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon, and earn a special Acadia Centennial Medallion.

acadia national park virtual runs

The first-ever virtual runs of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon is an official Acadia Centennial event. At least 5% of gross proceeds from virtual runs’ registration fees go to help support the park. Find more details and register here.

The MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition is a special collaboration between three Acadia Centennial Partners, Acadia on My MindMount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon and Crow Athletics, host of the real-live races. An official Acadia Centennial event, the virtual runs will help raise funds to support the park, with at least 5% of gross proceeds going to benefit Acadia.

“The MDI Marathon and Half couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Acadia on My Mind to offer this cutting-edge virtual edition of our event,” said Gary Allen, race founder and director. “Our partnership is an innovative way for our organizations to join forces to offer anyone, anywhere in the world, a chance to be part of the historic Centennial of Acadia National Park and participate in our award-winning event.”

The real-life MDI Marathon and Half Marathon are being held on Oct. 16, while the virtual runs give participants 10 days to log their miles, from Oct. 7 through end of day Oct. 16. Registration for the real-life MDI Marathon closes Sept. 1, while the real-life MDI Half Marathon is already full. Registration for the virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon is open now until the end of the day on Oct. 3.

Virtual runs are a growing fitness trend, offering runners and walkers the ability to be part of a real-life race anywhere in the world, and the chance to raise funds for charity and earn a finisher’s medal. We teamed up with racery.com to power the MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition, after having worked with them on the year-long virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, which also helps raise funds for Acadia.

virtual runs

The racery.com virtual map of the MDI Marathon route. You have 10 days to log your 26.2 miles, whether it’s half a mile here and another couple of miles there, or all 26.2 miles all in one go on the day of the actual MDI Marathon on Oct. 16. Each day’s mileage entry moves your race avatar along the map (Bubble Rock on the map represents @AOMM, or Acadia on My Mind, at the virtual starting line in Bar Harbor). You may see a Google Street View(C) photo of where you ended that day, if available. Registration for the virtual MDI Marathon and Half Marathon is open now, and closes at the end of the day on Oct. 3. Virtual runs go live on Oct. 7. (Image courtesy of racery.com)

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Meaning of the Trek, in the year of the Acadia Centennial

Roger and Julie Grindle of Hancock joined a virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek at the perfect time, with Roger having just retired, and the both of them wanting to walk more to stay fit. They just completed their 100th mile on Ocean Path last week and have the finisher’s medal to prove it.

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Julie and Roger Grindle of Hancock at the finish line of their 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek. (Photo courtesy of Julie Grindle)

Bob and Helena Herrmann of Bowie, Md., are into their 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Acadia Centennial Trek, logging their miles in their home state. When they see their map icon move along the virtual route, from the top of Cadillac and along the hiking trails and roads of Acadia, it makes them long for the next trip to their favorite park.

Cookie Horner, co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, and her husband, William, plan a personal real-life Acadia trek of 100 miles, up and over the 26 peaks of Mount Desert Island, and along the park’s carriage roads, to deepen their appreciation of the park even more, although they may not necessarily plot their mileage on the virtual map as the Grindles and Herrmanns have.

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Some of the attendees at the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up at Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor.

These and other stories, shared on the occasion of the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up last week at Side Street Café in Bar Harbor, show the many meanings of the Trek, no matter who’s doing it, where they’re doing it, and how they’re doing it.

The free year-long Trek, sponsored by this blog as an official Acadia Centennial event, and hosted by Racery.com, offers an optional Acadia Centennial finisher’s medal for purchase. Made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that has made the finisher’s medal for the Boston Marathon and the MDI Marathon, the medal helps raise funds for the park.

Nearly 250 people have signed up for the virtual Trek so far, from marathoners in Scotland to runners in last weekend’s Acadia Half Marathon and this weekend’s Ellsworth Public Library’s My Way 5k, from walkers in Maine and Maryland to park rangers and Friends of Acadia volunteers. Even Racery.com CEO Henry Copeland (Trek name @hc) and Bar Harbor naturalist Rich MacDonald (Trek name @MDIbirdnerd) have joined in on the fun. Continue reading

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Acadia Triple Crown: Run, walk for park, a cause – and bling!

Call it the Acadia Triple Crown: Join the free year-long virtual Acadia Centennial Trek to celebrate the park, do a real-life race to raise funds or give back to community in other ways, and reward yourself with a special medal.

Acadia Centennial Trek medal

Show your support of Acadia with this officially licensed Acadia Centennial Trek Medal, available exclusively on Acadia on My Mind Shop.

Or maybe create your own family or friends Summer Olympics with an event or activity that everyone, from toddler to grandparent, can participate in, give to a cause, and make everyone a winner with an Acadia Centennial medal of their own.

The officially licensed medal, featuring the Acadia Centennial logo set in a bright silver wreath, is assembled and mostly made in the USA by Ashworth Awards, the same company that has made the medals for the Boston Marathon and the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Half Marathon. (The ribbon comes from overseas.)

We designed the medal as part of our sponsorship of the virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, hosted on Racery.com, to celebrate the trails of Acadia, and help raise funds for the park. At least 5% of gross proceeds from the sale of the medal go to support the park. The medal just became available on the Acadia on My Mind Shop, and has been submitted to the official Acadia Centennial Web site’s merchandise section.

acadia virtual race

Hailing from all over the world, Acadia Centennial Trekkers are all over the 100-mile virtual map, starting at Cadillac and ending in Southwest Harbor at the finish line of the real-life Mount Desert Island Marathon. You have until Dec. 31 to join and finish the free race.

As an Acadia Centennial Partner, we wanted to broaden the meaning of community and deepen the appreciation of Acadia throughout the year. So instead of limiting the Acadia Centennial Trek Medal only to participants in the Trek, we came up with the idea of the Acadia Triple Crown and teaming up with other Centennial Partners and local groups. (In reality, you can purchase the medal simply to express your appreciation and support of the park without doing anything else – but it’s more fun to earn the medal as part of a real-life fitness challenge or community effort!)

Among the Acadia Centennial Partners and local groups we’re formally or informally teaming up with, and the possible ways you can earn an Acadia Triple Crown: Continue reading

Ready, set, go! First ever of Acadia virtual races about to start

UPDATE 5/20/2016: Optional finisher’s medal to help raise funds for Acadia now available for purchase.

UPDATE 2/29/2016: New Acadia Centennial Trek page to serve as online guide to virtual 100-mile route, including mileage marker links to Google Maps views, other resources

On your marks! The starting pistol is about to go off for the first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek, a free virtual race that begins at the top of Cadillac and takes you 100 miles over mountains, on carriage roads, and along parts of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and Acadia Half Marathon.

acadia centennial trek

The virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek begins at the top of Cadillac; goes over sections of the Park Loop Road, carriage roads, and MDI YMCA’s Acadia and Fall Half Marathons; and ends at the finish line for the MDI Marathon. Each racer’s icon moves along the map with miles logged.

Whether you run, hike, walk or step-count your miles, and no matter where in the world you are, your position on the map of Acadia and MDI will move along as you log your distance. Only about a dozen more participants need to register for what might just be the first of many Acadia virtual races, before this year-long event goes live.

The Acadia Centennial Trek, part of our Acadia Centennial Partner commitment, is a special way to celebrate Acadia’s 100th anniversary, share about the park and local races and places, get more fit and encourage others. And it’s a way to keep Acadia on your mind, whether you live nearby or halfway across the world, whether you’re a perennial visitor or have yet to set foot in the park. There will also be the chance to purchase a finisher’s medal to help support the park.

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Christa Brey, the first to sign up for the Acadia Centennial Trek, is all smiles while running the 24-hour Croatan Ultramarathon in North Carolina in November 2015. (Photo courtesy Christa Brey)

The first person to sign up is Christa Brey of Lamoine, who works in the marketing department of Jackson Laboratory. She’s already invited a couple of friends to join her in the virtual race. Her map icon will be “CB,” and her runner’s handle, @Christa.

“I will be running and hiking. I run (a lot) in Acadia,” Brey says in an e-mail of how she’ll log her miles. A member of Crow Athletics, which sponsors the MDI Marathon, and a veteran of races real and virtual, Brey says virtual races are a “fun way to be involved from afar.”

It’s already starting to feel like a virtual Acadia running and hiking community. Thanks for being the first to join, @Christa! Continue reading