By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,354)
“We are growing larger every year. We are the second largest race in Maine. We’re right behind Beach to Beacon and in a couple of years we will be bigger than it is,” said Erik Boucher, Race Director of the Fifth Old Port Half Marathon & 5KM, this afternoon. It’s expanded so much this year that it is now located beside the Ocean Gateway building in Amethyst Park. That’s where runners were picking up their race material for the two races tomorrow morning and the scene of a Lobster/Chicken Bake for 600 by Starlite Catering this evening. A stage was ready for a concern this evening by Hello Newman, a local band.
The half marathon starts at Ocean Gateway at 7:00 am and the 5k starts at Cutter Street, on the Eastern Promenade, at 7:20 am.
This year for the first year Boucher mailed out 7,000 postcards to
residents along the route of the races – so they will be aware of the race and roads that will be closed during the morning hours. Boucher neglected to send them to residents of Peaks Island, but next year they will be included. There are 180 volunteers involved this year.
Registering for the two races this year are 4,761 runners. Most of them, at 3,760 are running in the half marathon and 1,001 are registered for the 5K. Sixty (60) percent of those registered are from out-of-state, many from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
An exception are Rachel and Stephen Petrin. They drove four hours this morning from Monticello, (on the Canadian border), so Rachel could run in her second half marathon. “We were looking for warm weather down here. We found it,” Rachel said grinning. ‘It was a rough winter up there.” It’s was in the 80s with a slight breeze coming off the nearby Casco Bay. “I’ll just follow along on my bicycle to urge her on,” said Stephen. Then they will go on a camping trip. “Can you imagine sleeping on the hard ground after running a half marathon?” Rachel asked laughing.
This year for the first time 175 runners are participating in the half marathon from twenty states. They are raising funds for a cure for Crohn’s and colitis – chronic diseases – from which they all suffer. The runners are trained to run by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. (See above left photo) Charitable beneficiaries of the run are Portland Trails, Habitat for Humanity and the Cancer Community Center, South Portland.
“I’m really looking forward to taking a few days off and spending them in the water at some nearby beach,” said Boucher, eyeing the nearby East End Beach. “Every year we start planning this event earlier and earlier to make it all run smoother at the very end. For tonight, I’ll be up and around all night,” he said.
For more information, please go to: http://www.oldporthalfmarathon.com/